Third Bridge Going In

After 5 years, at last the 3rd bridge on Longrun Meadow has been installed it will now link to the park and ride on Silk Mills. The contractors even managed to repair the path on the corners that was washed away in recent floods.

The 3rd bridge was bought 5 years ago when the meadow was officially opened, however complicated issues regarding access to the land where the bridge is no located have taken a long time to resolve. The bridge opens up the meadow to the lake on the other side of the River Tone. The lake supports a rich variety of wildlife

Sowing Wildflower Seeds in Cathedral Field

The Friends have been sowing wildflower seed to help diversity the plants in Cathedral Field. The seed will germinate into wildflowers that will bring colour and diversity to what was once just a grass field.

The yellow rattle sowed in 2015 flowered well in 2016. It germinated quite late in march and April, flowered in June and started setting seed in early July. The farmer took a hay cut in mid July, and in the autumn harrowed the grass to pull out some of the grass thatch.  On a farm this would normally be done by the livestock through ‘aftermath grazing’ (= grazing after the hay cut). On 20th October the Longrun Meadow Conservation Volunteers  sowed small patches of wild flower seed, mainly  yellow rattle seed, common knapweed  and oxeye daisy,  in Cathedral Field, very close to the willow cathedral so that once the seed germinates and begins to flower in a few years time it can be seen from the seats inside the willow structure.  The group had to make small scrapes in the grassland to allow the seed to reach the bare ground.  Next year we hope to see even more yellow rattle which helps to suppress the growth of grass and then gradually a greater variety of wild flowers.

Wildflowers on the run

I started running, like most people, because I wanted to get fitter (and need to be in shape for work) and love being outside. My job involves surveying grassland and farms during the summer. However, lunchtime runs were a little dull until I discovered a parkrun starting down the road at Longrun Meadow.

I joined the community of over 200 runners and with a relatively flat course it left lots of time to look around and enjoy the landscape. The park is well used by lots of people; dog-walkers, children playing games and the river is often used by kayakers. Longrun is a wildlife haven in the centre of the town and I was amazed at the number of different bird songs that I could hear, and have even spotted water voles and otters. Through my involvement with parkrun, the local community group found out that I work with wildflowers and asked me to help create a wildflower meadow. Last year we sowed yellow rattle, a plant that parastises grasses, with the hope to sow more wildflowers in a few years time to increase the pollen and nectar for bees, butterfies and other pollinating insects.

Many Parkruns take place through meadows. Lullingstone parkrun passes through spectacular wildflower meadows where training courses take place as part of the national Save our Magnificent Meadows project. Penrhyn parkrun near Bangor in Wales has had donor seed taken from a Coronation Meadow and spread near the castle in the middle of the running course. Coastal strips and road verges are also places where wildflowers will thrive.

National Meadows Day is on Saturday 2nd July and over 60 events are taking place across the UK. It is all about celebrating our meadow wildlife, so if you still have some breath left after your parkrun, check out the events in your local area www.magnificentmeadows.org.uk.

Save Our Magnificent Meadows is the UK’s largest partnership project transforming the fortunes of vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife. Led by Plantlife, the partnership is made up of 11 organisations and is primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  The aim of the partnership is to give people all over the UK the chance to visit, enjoy and learn about our wildflower meadows and grasslands, to raise awareness of the desperate plight of our wildflower meadows and grasslands and to equip communities with the knowledge and skills to reverse their devastating decline.

Article for parkrun enews by Cath Shellswell

June 2016

Barn Owl Boxes for Longrun Meadow

The Wildlife Trusts are working with local communities to do what they can to help and the “Friends” are delighted to announce that they have been successful in securing a Barn Owl nesting box to be put up in the meadow as part of the Somerset Wildlife initiative.

You can watch Somerset Wildlife Trust’s short film about grassland habitats taken on location at our webcam nestbox here. The webcam nest box is part of the Somerset Community Barn Owl project which successfully concluded this month drawing to a close the Trust’s most successful community conservation initiative in its 50-year history.

Posted in 2014