Hay-cutting Hart Meadows

Now we are getting into Autumn and the weather is turning rainy it marks the end of the hay-cutting season. Our volunteers have been vital to cutting and raking the meadows we can not get to with the Massey. Thank you all!

This year we returned to help the Hart Rangers by hay-cutting Kennel’s Lane Meadow and Royal Oak Valley.

The volunteers did a fantastic job on both sites, using the BCS motorscythe to cut the grass and scrub then raking the vegetation into hidden piles. By removing the vegetation from the meadows we are reducing the nutrient levels in the soil, which encourages more wildflowers to grow. The piles of hay will rapidly reduce before the next cut and in the meantime provide great hibernation spots for small mammals and reptiles just in time for the winter.

Whilst the motorscythe was making a start on the meadows the volunteers set their mind to other tasks. At Kennels Lane they cut back saplings that were encroaching on the meadow and litter-picked the area. At Royal Oak Valley they dug out the invasive non-native American Skunk Cabbage and removed a trailer load of litter and fly-tipping from the woodland.

Lots of wildlife was spotted on both days including this female Wasp Spider and the White Ermine caterpillar.

Thank you to everyone who helped with the tasks. We look forward to helping Hart again soon.

Ranger Jenny

About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
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