Conservation grazing is about to start on North Meadow National Nature Reserve . Grazing with cattle following the hay cut is of vital importance to maintain biodiversity. North Meadow is a species rich lowland hay meadow habitat which is now very rare in the UK. The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) estimate that less than 1500 ha of this habitat remain in the UK today.
North Meadow has a long history of consistent agricultural management consisting of a hay crop taken in July, followed by aftermath grazing. This form of management produces the species rich flower meadow which we enjoy today. Before the introduction of artificial fertilizers, this was one of the most sought after of all agricultural systems. The history of this method of agricultural management is explained by the Floodplain Meadows Partnership.
Preparing for Conservation Grazing
Over the last few days Court Members have installed 2.5 km of electric fencing. Court Members carry out daily checks on this fencing during the grazing season. This fencing is essential to ensure the cattle do not stray into adjacent fields or become trapped on the river banks.
The cattle drink from 8 pasture pumps which draw water from the River Churn. This avoids the need for the cattle to enter the River Thames and River Churn which is detrimental to river water quality and damages the river banks. Cattle entering the river disturb sediment causing problems for fish and other aquatic life.
There will be about 65 cattle grazing the meadow for around 10 weeks depending on ground conditions. In addition there will be up to 10 horses which may be on the meadow longer if conditions allow.
If you plan to visit the meadow during grazing pleasekeep your dog on a short lead and follow the advice posted on each entrance gate.
Sadly the commemoration event VE75 planned for Friday 8th May and the Beating the Bounds walk on Sunday 17th May have been cancelled. These are truly difficult times and we hope everyone remains safe and well.
The election of the first three honorary freemen of the borough and hundred of Cricklade was witnessed by a large number of residents at a special meeting of the town’s ancient Court Leet in June 1987 as part of Cricklade’s 1100 anniversary celebrations.
The title was awarded to three men whose service to the town has been outstanding, Mr Dick Giles, Mr John Little and Mr Frederic Freeth, High Bailiff of the Court Leet, all men were in their 80s.
Other events to mark the occasion include the Saxon Fair on a weekend that was blessed with fine weather.
In all, there were 35 different stalls at Waylands including craft stalls demonstrating weaving, engraving and spinning.
During the afternoon the crowds were entertained by a group of street buskers, folk singers, the Waylands singers and the recorder group from St Sampson’s Junior School.
The evening’s entertainment started with a magic show and a traditional Punch and Judy show for children and the climactic finale to the duck races that had been taking place on the River Thames throughout the week.
Afterwards, Cricklade Town band entertained a large crowd in the High Street and there was a special traders’ evening with Morris dancing.
Large numbers of birds seen on North Meadow today. North Meadow has been flooded since mid October last year, almost 4 months. The water level has started to drop over the last few days. Hopefully this will continue to fall in time for the Snakes Head Fritillary season in April. Continue reading “Birds on North Meadow”
St Sampson’s Church Christmas Tree Festival 2019 – members of the Court decorate their Christmas Tree. In 2017 the theme was Christmas Carols. However, the theme this year is “Peace on Earth“.
The Cricklade Court Leet tree, number 6, is one of 30 being decorated by various businesses and organisations from Cricklade.
All the Christmas Tree Festival 2019 trees are on display in St Sampson’s Church over the weekend Saturday 30th November to Sunday 1st December.
Cricklade is fortunate to be a peaceful place to live. Free from oppression, fear and violence, unlike so many places around the World. Our hope and prayers are for everlasting Peace throughout those many areas of conflict on our planet. Resolution is only through talking to each other using those words of PEACE.
The recent heavy rain has caused flooding on North Meadow this week. We have been watching the water levels closely as we are in the middle of the grazing season. Fortunately the water levels have now started to drop. Rain is not expected for the next few days and this will give time for the water to drain away. Continue reading “Flooding on North Meadow this week”