This is a fabulous opportunity for us all to get involved in restoring nature at the landscape scale! Having honed our meadow-making and hedge-planting skills in Eynsham Playing Field's Carnival Meadow and Dovehouse Close and within the other villages of our network, we are now ready to take on the wider local landscape and re-create along the Thames a connected network of the wildflower meadows, woods, wetlands and hedges, which are all critical for the survival of some of our most endangered UK species.
Today we will all be starting to prepare the 50 acres that have been leased (by Long Mead Foundation from Smiths of Bletchingdon and from the County Council) to restore for the benefit of wildlife but also, of course, for our own benefit.
The task is to prepare the sites for spreading wildflower seed from Long Mead and our ancient local meadows, which will hopefully take place next year. There are a few areas where docks and thistles have taken hold and these could jeopardise the meadow creation. The thistles can be managed by early mowing but the docks come out by hand-pulling at this time of year when the soil is wet.
We will also start planting the hedges that will contribute to creating a mosaic of habitats so critical to supporting our wildlife.
We will be joined by the Oxford Conservation Volunteers to pull docks and other preparation work on Changeable Furlongs. It is a beautiful site dominated by Wytham Hill and its ancient woodland. We plan to spend the day out there from 10am so bring your thermos and picnic lunch. We will bring specialist tools but if you have a spade and secateurs that would be great - and if you live close enough to bring a wheelbarrow and could swing by Long Mead at 9.45 that would be great. In any case please aim to arrive on time if you can as we will start with a briefing on the project