Rushy Meadow is next to the Oast and was named by the family farming here before the reservoir – when a stream meandered through, and often flooded the field in winter. When the reservoir was made the stream was straightened, but Top Water Level in winter now floods even more of the field. As it subsides in spring the meadow is filled with flowers, and grasshoppers, crickets, bees and butterflies. There are four ponds. Amphibians, including Great Crested Newts breed here, followed by dragonflies. Reeds grow where it remains wet and Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings nest here.
On Friday’s task we were working to control willow and reeds and remove some excessive growth from the ponds, to maintain the many varied habitat niches here.
Photo 1 Oast from Rushy Meadow
If the reeds were left to grow unchecked there would soon be nothing but a boggy reed bed. Keeping the reeds in check allows a diverse habitat to develop. There are other more extensive reed beds along the streamside. Traditionally the reeds would have been grazed by animals or cut for fodder and animal bedding, nothing went to waste!
Photo 2 Pond Maintenance
Rushy Meadow is a rich habitat. We found a Reed Warbler’s nest, abandoned in the summer after the birds returned to Africa for the winter. A Harvest Mouse nest was the first evidence for this species in Rushy Meadow and a Glow Worm larva was also recorded. Glow worms are misnamed, they are a beetle, and are often seen at Bough Beech on warm evenings in late summer. The larva feed on snails.
Photo 3 Harvest Mouse Nest
Rushy Meadow is not accessible to the public at the moment, this keeps the disturbance to a minimum and we really don’t want people falling in the ponds. It is a rich habitat with lots of plant species and nesting birds which can be seen from the viewing platform.
This task was carried out by a group of volunteers who meet on Fridays. There is also a volunteer group meeting on the second Sunday of each month. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Becky at email@example.com.