03 Sep 2011
The water channels have now been fully restored at the Water Meadow in Wicksteed Park Nature Reserve. Over 550m of the main water channels have been dug out by volunteers since December last year while a further 900m of the smaller channels were ploughed out this week. The project led by Dr Robin Field, the Revital-ISE Project Manager and Jane Pearman, Reserves Manager for the Wildlife Trust has cleared scrub from the site, cut the meadow for the first time in living memory, created a riverside path, fenced part of the site and re-instated the dams to control the flow of water around the site.
The Wildlife Trust is managing the site as one of their Northamptonshire reserves and will continue with the restoration work over the next three to six months. Jane Pearman, Reserves Manager said 'The Water Meadow is such a rare habitat so this is a fabulous opportunity to be able to restore and improve it for wildlife.' Some work still has to be completed and this includes the remove of the last of the scrub to allow more of the site to be fenced before cattle can graze it. Interpretation panels and a site leaflet are being produced and these should be ready shortly.
The dry weather has assisted with the restoration of the site as even the very wettest parts of the site have been able to be cut this year. Once the final parts of the restoration have been completed the site can be 'drowned', that is flooded with water from the River Ise. This will have to wait until the river level rises but is part of a traditional management of a water meadow and would have happen up to six or seven times a year to encourage grass growth.