Improving Chettisham Meadow Is Priority For Wildlife Trust

PUBLISHED: 13:07 28 April 2010 | UPDATED: 13:25 02 June 2010

IN her letter to the Ely Standard of April 22, Alison Arnold drew attention to some significant work that has recently taken place on hedges and trees at Chettisham Meadow, just off The Baulk byway between Chettisham and Little Downham. I would just like

IN her letter to the Ely Standard of April 22, Alison Arnold drew attention to some significant work that has recently taken place on hedges and trees at Chettisham Meadow, just off The Baulk byway between Chettisham and Little Downham. I would just like to briefly explain why this work has been carried out.

Improving Chettisham Meadow as a haven for wildlife is the primary objective of the Wildlife Trust, which has recently acquired the land after managing it on behalf of the owner for many years.

Whilst the immediate results of this work may look a little drastic now, it is all for the long-term good of the meadow. Chettisham is the only meadow in the area to contain such high quality grassland and such a high number of green-wing orchids. This is why the grassland is our main focus at this nature reserve and we are doing all we can to preserve it.

The hedgerows have been gradually encroaching year by year, so we have cut them back while maintaining a barrier against the potential pesticide spray drift from surrounding fields. Where the hedge has become thin we will be planting new hedging plants, such as hawthorn and blackthorn, in the autumn. In addition to continuing the traditional annual hay cut, we will be putting up stock fencing to allow local farmers to graze the meadow in late summer.

The poplars at the gate end have been felled as they have been casting a lot of shade and dropping their leaves on the grassland. The green-wing orchids had been spreading across the meadow from the eastern end towards the gate, but the western end was too shady and nutrient rich for them to continue. The removal of the poplars should help the orchids and other wildflowers spread into this area.

We are sorry this was not communicated sooner to local residents. We appreciate their support and hope they continue to visit and enjoy this special site. A new finger post has been installed on The Baulk to help direct visitors to the nature reserve and we will be installing a new gate soon.

MARTIN BAKER

Conservation manager for the Wildlife Trust (Cambridgeshire)

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