Welcome to our November 2023 Newsletter.
Herefordshire meadows wrapped up this year’s restoration works in October and we now await the emergence of seedlings! Work continues on a couple of new projects, looking to create species-rich grasslands in north Herefordshire, and develop plans for a variety of landscape enhancements in the Wye Valley National Landscape. See the updates below for more info.
Also below are the results of Farm Herefordshire’s important survey looking at farmer’s attitudes to the nutrient issue on the Wye!
And a reminder to all restoration site owners – don’t forget to send your botanical and bee survey results to us! We now compiling and analysing data from 2019 onwards.
1. Upcoming events:
- Wednesday 6th December – Sustainable Farming Incentive: How & Why?
at Hereford Rowing Club, HR4 0BE, 12.30 – 3.30pm
An overview of SFI, detailed discussion on the options available for your farm, and demonstration of the application process. With speakers from Herefordshire Rural Hub and Wye & Usk Foundation.
Herefordshire Rural Hub Events
- Winter Walks with the new Herefordshire Winter Recording Group
A new wildlife recording group in Herefordshire, interested in bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) and recording any other species of interest encountered on our winter walks. Walks at a variety of interesting locations with bryology enthusiasts and experts.
Please contact Suzanne at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up to our contact list.
- Herefordshire Grassland Society Winter Program at Grange Court, Leominster, HR68NL starting 7pm
Meetings for farmers on a variety of topics:
12th December – The role of livestock in a sustainable food system – Prof Michael Lee, Harper Adams University, Deputy Vice Chancellor.
9th January – Sustainable grassland management; financially and environmentally – Sean Chubb, LIC Europe, Business Development Manager.
20th February – From knowing to doing… – Dr Judith Batchelar OBE, Deputy Chair of the Environment Agency & Honorary President of the British Nutrition Foundation.
The Herefordshire Grassland Society Facebook Group has more info about these events.
2. Catch Up
A busy 2023 for Herefordshire Meadows
Herefordshire Meadows has had a busy year creating around 71ha of new species-rich grasslands at 24 sites around Herefordshire.
- 36.49ha of species-rich grassland was created thanks our 2-year Botanica project funded by WWF & Airwick (a total of 63.5ha created over 2022-2023)
- 18ha was created in North Herefordshire in partnership with Buglife, as part of their Get the Marches Buzzing Project.
- An additional 11ha was created in the Wye Valley National Landscape (formerly known as AONB) thanks to their Farming in Protected Landscapes funding.
- 5ha was created in the Woolhope Dome thanks to funding from the Woolhope Dome Environment Trust.
- And 0.7ha was created with the help of Natural Flood Management funding from Herefordshire Council & Environment Agency.
This year’s work brings our 5-year total to around 250 hectares of species rich grassland created by Herefordshire Meadows!
Thank you to all our partners and funders, and all the landowners committed to creating species-rich grassland on their properties and managing them sympathetically long-term. Thanks also to the 8 landowners who allowed us to harvest wildflower seed from their highquality meadows this year, which helped create 42ha of species-rich grassland at 18 sites.
In addition to the above restoration works, Herefordshire Meadows has provided management advice to 25 landowners in the county via our Advisory Service, helping them to create and preserve species-rich grassland on their properties.
Herefordshire Meadows has also continued with outreach and education efforts by holding regular events, discussions and training sessions, and engaging with schools, to help raise awareness and understanding of the many benefits of species-rich grasslands.
Landowner Event for the Landscape Enhancement Initiative
On the evening of the 8th October Herefordshire Meadows and Wye Valley National Landscape held an
outreach event for local landowners at Goodrich Village Hall.
This event was to promote a new funding opportunity offered by the National Grid’s Landscape
Enhancement Initiative fund, for landowners within 3km of the high voltage power lines (see below map
of project area).
With the help of Herefordshire Meadows the Wye Valley National Landscape team are putting together a bid for the LEI fund, to undertake a variety of habitat creation and other enhancement works to help mitigate the visual impact of the electricity pylons upon the landscape.
Attendees were given an overview of the funding opportunity, and talked through the potential enhancements that might be covered by the fund, e.g. meadow restoration, tree and hedge planting, orchards, pond creation, etc. Attending landowners had the chance to discuss their ideas and submit their expressions of interest, and arrange for a follow up visit to their property from Herefordshire Meadows advisors.
Its not too late to submit an expression of interest!
If you manage land in the project area contact us now to see if your land would be suitable
for inclusion in the project.
Farm Herefordshire Survey – Farmer’s attitudes to nutrient pollution in the Wye
Agriculture is the largest land use in the county and is currently identified as the largest source of nutrient loss in the Wye catchment. Farm Herefordshire carried out a survey investigating farmer’s attitudes to the issue of nutrient pollution in the Wye, and released the results this month. Survey respondents represent 24% of the farmed area in Herefordshire, and show that awareness of the issue and the important role that farmers have to play has risen significantly.
- Awareness of the phosphate issues on our river has increased from 49% to 95% during the last 5 years.
- 90% think its important that farming reduces its contribution to the phosphate issues.
- 87% are willing to make changes to help reduce the phosphate in the county.
- 72% are delivering environmental stewardship schemes on their land.
- 57% identified barriers to making further changes on their farm.
- Around 30% reported that they had already made their swards more diverse, and around 16% said that they would like to do so, as a management change to tackle the phosphate issue. Around 7% responded that they were not interested in creating more diverse swards.
There is lots of interesting detail in the full report, including what farmers feel are the barriers to adopting better management practices – available on the Farm Herefordshire website here.
Wonderful Waxcaps Walk at Eaton Camp
Jo Weightman led a group of Herefordshire Meadows members on a walk at Eaton Camp on 23 October 2023 courtesy of National Trust.
8 different wax caps and overall 19 different species of fungi were identified on the day, and after receiving lots of useful identification tips everybody left inspired to go and look at their own grasslands with new eyes.
See the website for a full writeup here, including a species list from the day and other useful info for identification.
Plug Planting at Croft Castle
We had a wonderful morning at National Trust’s Croft Castle on the 18th November, planting around 800 native wildflower plugs into the front meadow with the help of a fantastic group of volunteers.
This area is one of this year’s restoration sites, which we have been working with alongside Buglife as part of their Get the Marches Buzzing project, which is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The plugs were supplied by Ecohab nurseries and are native local provenance plants that will help boost the botanical diversity of the site.