On Tuesday whilst Jenny was welcoming our cows, the volunteers and I headed down to Blackwater Meadows, by Shepherd Meadows in Sandhurst.
We’ve worked hard to remove encroaching scrub from these four meadows over the years, since they are designated for their grassland wildflower interest as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). A few years ago we felled a double row of mature birch and alder along one of the ditches, to reduce shading of the meadow and promote aquatic and riparian vegetation. The volunteer task this week was to cut back the scrub regrowth.
Surprisingly open-aspect ditches are quite rare, as they often get filled in or scrubbed over, so the volunteers’ work has made a real difference to restoring the ditch habitat. Last year I saw dragonflies coursing along the ditch there, so it will be interesting to see what other wildlife arrives.
Senior Ranger Stuart