Notes from Reserves... Parky Meadow

Volunteer Jack Morris heads out on a winter work party at Parky Meadow Nature Reserve

Parky Meadow Nature Reserve

A sunny day with a gentle breeze was the backdrop to our journey across the countryside of Northern Herefordshire to Parky Meadow Nature Reserve, located near the village of Wigmore. As we neared the end of our trip, the minibus and trailer had to overcome a rutted and secluded road, which had been left with a dark and muddy texture from the rainfall of days and nights past. This gave the high population of potholes and surface scarring tyre tracks a reason to make the home stretch of our journey into a test of fortitude for our vehicles and equipment, which safely passed with flying colours. However, we had to face this path again for the trek back to Queenswood, something we anticipated as soon as the time came.

Shortly after arriving, it was noticeable how this stretch of floodplain has been affected by the heavy rains and mild climate of this winter season. Amongst the areas containing deep pools of mud and marshland in the western field, some of which were coated with layers of emerald green algae and decorated by eye-catching snail shells, there was still grassland for cattle grazing and dense vegetation for settling birds within both fields of the reserve.

We obtained our equipment from the trailer and gathered by the gate which leads into the western field. The party leader, Lewis, explained to us the general conditions of the reserve over the past year, how the recent weather patterns have affected the landscape and the fencing which surrounds the perimeter of the reserve, as well as our objectives for the day.

The primary goal was to coppice and clear away any hedgerow, bushes or tree branches that were impeding on the fencing that was going to be replaced. However, due to the recent heavy rainfall and flooding, many piles of stacked logs that had been left on the high ground within the western field had drifted onto the lower ground surface. A group of five people were to gather the logs and re-pile them upon both sides of the field, whilst Lewis and the remaining volunteers began work on removing the necessary amount of obstructive flora in the field to the east.

A couple of hours passed, and after reuniting the stranded logs with the high ground, the larger group of volunteers rendezvoused with Lewis’ group in the eastern field. We were on the home stretch of our expedition, and the group were heavily enthused to finish the day on a strong note. A large, entangling rose bush stood alongside a contrastingly rotten willow tree, and their branches needed to be coppiced and piled up safely for burning.

We remained thankful to the weather for keeping us dry throughout the day. The still water from the trio of small ponds in the eastern field personified the pleasant experiences we had on the reserve.