Lordship Wildlife Group

Next meeting Tuesday 24th May 6pm in the BWF Community Centre All welcome

Report of meeting, 5th April 2011
Present: Ruth Green [chaired], Dave Morris [took notes], Mal Hawley, Jeremy Richardson, Ian Holt. 

Apologies: Luisa Baker, Gary Witham, Mike Bury, Felix Waterhouse, Helen Steel.

Documents circulated:
– Minutes of last meeting and report of site visit (both in Feb 2011);
– Management plans for the Spinney and Woodland;
– Proposals for more natural play features;
– Stakeholders Weekly Update (1st April).

Minutes of last meeting (2nd Feb 2011) and site visit/walkabout (17th Feb): Accepted as accurate, with the following amendments – aim is to upgrade the site from local to borough-wide importance for nature conservation; that the fourth species of bat found on site is Nathusius Pipistrelle; and that Ian Holt clarified that the policy on meadow development is not so much ‘wait and see’ as there will need to be some flexibility and monitoring due to the different soils and open space history in various parts of the park.

Planting: 

Trees – we’d like to help with the planned tree planting during the works. Luisa is checking with the landscape architect what the current plans are and then she’ll call a meeting of interested groups which will discuss the issue, e.g. the species planned, type of guards to be used (much needed!), where they will go etc… the group are keen on the maximum number of native species, and ones which benefit wildlife.

Shrubs – we were unclear if there was to be additional shrub planting.

Meadows – we understood that there was an opportunity to help with the seeding of new meadow areas, although it wasn’t realistic to expect volunteers to be able to cover the large areas earmarked, especially around the edges of the main field. Ruth was disappointed that the planned meadow area in the S.E. field wasn’t larger.

Central Corridor: Dave reported that an issue had suddenly arisen about the contractor’s temporary road being planned to go through the edge of the ‘Graham Lee’ memorial trees by the Moselle. 8 or 9 trees would have had to have been relocated. There had been extensive efforts over the last few days to discuss the options and re-route the road over the existing pedestrian bridge (which will be demolished first), with pedestrian access to go through a gap in the memorial trees. This will necessitate only one young tree to be relocated elsewhere within the plantation. The Friends of Graham Lee had taken part in the discussions and agreed this was the best solution. This option has now been accepted, but has resulted in extra cost – we have to be careful not to go over budget or some of the agreed works won’t be able to be completed at the end of the project.

Moselle River:  New open river channel will have a variety of habitats. There will be a reed bed/weir at the western end to capture silt and provide gradient/flow. Someone (Environment Agency) came recently to do a biodiversity/invertebrate survey of the existing open channel and found very little – but this is helpful as it will serve as a baseline against which we can judge any improvements.

Spinney: There are issues with the design of the bike track needing improvement to ensure loops and to discourage exiting through trees. The specialist contractor due to build the track is due to meet up with key designers/contractors at the site to discuss options on 27th April, 1pm. Dave (for LRUF) and Ruth (for LWG) aim to attend. A decision is needed by May 1st. The LWG doesn’t want to see any more trees lost. Ruth wondered if the wet area could be enhanced with some appropriate planting. Ian is not sure. He thinks coppicing of trees would be advantageous. Ruth volunteered to help look after the spinney if others can be found to join her.
Woodland: Friends have applied for a Green Flag Community Award again this year, and are awaiting a visit from a judge. Holding regularly work-days to put wood-chip along the path. Next one 17th April.

Lake Area: Friends have completed their island improvements work. Have obtained £3,500 grant for misc maintenance equipment and a storage container on Freedom Way. Some of the grant can be used to arrange lake-related training sessions if needed.

Nature Surveys: We would like to find people who can help compile lists / do surveys of key sites and key flora and fauna e.g.. wildflowers, birds, fungi. Some surveys have already been done (e.g. reptiles, bats, trees in Woodland, lake area flora) as part of the regeneration preparations. Jeremy is an amateur naturalist specialising in birds and will think about what info he might be able to contribute. Jeremy also interested in a Bat Conservation Trust course and gave Ian his details.

Future LWG meetings:  Mike of BTCV doesn’t feel able to continue convening these meetings as BTCV has had its grant cut by 50%. We agreed to meet again on Tues 24th May, 6pm in the BWF Community Centre. All welcome.

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