Scything returned to North Meadow on Saturday for probably the first time for 100 years or more. This was made possible by Cricklade Court Leet’s Heritage Lottery Fund Grant which enabled the Court to purchase part of the meadow.
Cricklade Court Leet has been involved in the management of North Meadow for at least 800 years and for most of that time the scythe would have been the main tool for haymaking. The agricultural revolution in the 19th century resulted in the introduction of first horse drawn mowers and later equipment powered by tractors.
On Saturday 10th July we held a practical scything and meadow management course on the land purchased with the help of the Heritage Lottery. Our course started with an introduction by the Court Town Crier Eric. Continue reading “Scything Returns to North Meadow”
North Meadow is in full flood this week. The National Nature Reserve is part of the floodplain for the River Thames and River Churn. Floodplains take the excess water when river levels are high and can extend over a wide area. It is quite normal for the floodplain to be inundated during the winter months and is one of the features which creates this species rich for lowland hay meadow habitat. Continue reading “North Meadow in Flood”
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”
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”
Grazing animals would normally drink from the River Thames and River Churn which skirts North Meadow. By entering the rivers the animals introduce silt into the water. This creates a water quality problem which damages fish spawning beds, resulting in poor fish populations. Continue reading “Pasture Pumps on North Meadow”
The hay cut started early this year to help to reduce the nutrient levels on the meadow. Nutrient levels have been rising, mainly caused by increased flooding in recent years and this reduces plant diversity. The hay cut would normally start in July.Continue reading “Hay Cut Started on Thursday 27th June”