SPC logo

CLERK'S BRIEFING NOTE
RED BARN FIELD NATURE PARK MANAGEMENT 2009

1. A meeting took place at Red Barn Field Nature Park on Wednesday 18 March 2009 to discuss the future maintenance of Red Barn Field Nature Park. The following people attended:-

  • Cllr Ralph Dellow - Sedlescombe Parish Council's Environment Officer
  • Mr Colin Boyd - local volunteer
  • Mrs Pauline Raymond - Sedlescombe Parish Council Clerk/Financial Officer

2. The result of the meeting was the drawing up of a maintenance regime that would be in accordance with existing Parish Council plans and would:-

  • maximise the opportunities for wildflowers to flourish in the grassland which could encourage more local interest in the area, including volunteer labour;
  • maintain the grassland in a way that allows annual wildflower plants to flower and set seed and provides some capacity for invertebrates to breed and over-winter;
  • retain some areas of bramble for the benefit of birds, for example singing male Whitethroat and Garden Warbler which have been noted in the last few years in the bramble and the big oak during the summer months;
  • maintain areas around entrances and information boards free from growth;
  • retain small areas of nettles, Urtica dioica, for the benefit of insects, for example the small tortoiseshell butterfly, Aglais urticae, lays its eggs on the underside of nettle leaves;
  • control areas of bracken and limit the spread;
  • eradicate creeping thistle for the benefit of the grassland and surrounding gardens and fields;
  • maintain the pond for the benefit of amphibians such as frogs and newts and also for dragonflies (it was noted that it is fed by a drainage pipe from the field which could introduce nutrients and often dries out during the summer months);
  • create a small new damp scrape area for the benefit of amphibians and dragonflies within the existing grassland;
  • aim to create a current species list for:
    • flora (and compare with list drawn up by the Weald Meadows Initiative in May 2000)
    • birds - make use of list drawn up by R Glew
    • insects
    • reptiles
    • amphibians

3. Below are details of how the maintenance regime will be followed (this takes account of discussions at the meeting and Mr Boyd's contact with Hastings Conservation Volunteers):

 

  Spring Summer Autumn Winter
Grassland

Mow & rake off grass (mid to late-March) into one pile on the extremity of the grassland leaving some islands and tufts - to be decided + volunteers. Try to get a trailer for towing round the site and collection of the grass.

 

Small flock of sheep to graze (after cutting) - E Cole (or alternative).

Small flock of sheep to graze - E Cole

Mow & rake off grass (late Aug-Sept) into one pile on the extremity of the grassland for slow worms leaving some islands and tufts - H Pitcher + volunteers.

 

Try to get a trailer for towing round the site and collection of the grass.

Small flock of sheep to graze (if sufficient grass regrows) - E Cole  
Bracken control   Cut and stack (1 day's work June-July) - Hastings Conservation Volunteers including C Boyd.    
Creeping thistle  

Topping after flower buds appear - C Boyd and other local volunteers. May need day's hire of brushcutter. R Dellow offered to dig some thistle.

As so much thistle is emerging, treatment with herbicide is being considered. E Cole would not support blanket weedkilling and believes spot treatment of some thistle each year would be best (spreads mostly by root)

   
Nettles   Cutting back some nettles - C Boyd and other local volunteers. May use brushcutter hired for creeping thistle.    
Bramble Retain bramble patches for breeding birds apart from the patch by the top gate/info board which should be removed. Retain bramble patches for breeding birds. Late summer trim around but not remove - volunteers.    
Pond

Some minor clearance around and in pond leaving what is removed/cut to allow creatures to migrate back to the pond - C Boyd.

Application of Barley Straw Parcels to be purchased. R Dellow to source.

  Remove Barley Straw Parcels after decomposition. Floating sweet grass to be cleared from pond - Sed volunteers or Hastings Conservation Volunteers if more work is needed.
New habitat in NW corner of the field Enhance naturally wet area by creating a small scrape - possibly digger arranged by Cllr Dellow or C Boyd with spade & mattock. Continue with establishing small scrape if not completed in spring.    
Path

Herbicide application by contractor to keep clear of weeds.

 

Monthly strimming of edges by local contractor

Herbicide application by contractor to keep clear of weeds.

 

Monthly strimming of edges by local contractor.

Monthly strimming of edges by local contractor  
Surveys Species surveys by volunteers. C Boyd to record bird sightings. Species surveys by volunteers Species surveys by volunteers Species surveys by volunteers
Planting     Late autumn - consider planting Narcissus pseudonarcissus (Wild daffodil) on bank by seat  

 

4. Funding was discussed and Cllr Dellow agreed to ask for a £200 grant from Sedlescombe Societies Association at its meeting on 25/05/09. Another option is application to the High Weald AONB for funding.

 

P Raymond

Clerk & Financial Officer

Sedlescombe Parish Council
March 2009, updated May 2009

01424 870508