Shepton Beauchamp

In the heart of Cider Country

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Cowleaze

Introduction

Shepton Beauchamp Cowleaze Meadow Project

This project is a community effort to utilize a 1 hectare (approx) site near the centre of the village. The site has been leased by the owners, Wessex Water, to the Parish council for 25 years. The site currently contains a sewage pumping station, which pumps waste water, and surface water to the treatment works in South Petherton. It has been formerly used as a sewage treatment works, but this was decommissioned in 1986.

It is hoped to provide a woodland/shrubby area, orchard area, wild flower meadow, secure seating and pathways that will allow access to a majority of the site by wheelchair users, parents with children in buggies, and all other villagers. It is also intended that a portion of the site is used by the playgroup as an allotment to grow vegetables, and to set up a sensory garden. Cowleaze Meadow can be found on OS maps using ref ST40561708. It contains a public right of way, and is bordered by a stream. The surrounding land is used for grazing cattle, growing arable crops, commercial fruit/vegetable production, housing and productive gardens with mature fruit trees. Various surveys have shown no remarkable plant species. There is a colony of water voles in the stream, and badgers, rabbits, deer, foxes have all been seen in the area. An otter has recently been observed in an adjacent field.

Local volunteers, who come from all parts of the community, will carry out the body of the work, once the basic infrastructure has been provided. We have secured the money for the work to be completed by contractors from a Community Spaces Lottery funded grant. The local school will use the area for nature walks, and the play group will be doing some planting. Before work can commence we require further soil samples to be analysed to make sure the areas to be planted with edible crops is free from any contamination. The survey and soil samples have been completed, and we are waiting for the results.

In addition to grant applications, we have received money from the parish council, various donations from groups and individuals. Mary H Clarke 22nd February 2010

Click here to see a larger version of the latest planned layout

Wildlife Watch

Would you like to take part in our Wildlife Watch, we have prepared a few notes which will help you plus a form on which you can record your findings, click to download then print your own copies.
Wildlife Data Collection Form

Help Notes

For details of all the wonderful wildlife recorded to date see the Flora and Fauna page.

News - Views - Events

AGM Notes December 2012

Notes on Shepton Beauchamp Cowleaze Meadow AGM held on Thurday 13th December 2012 Attended by Barrie, Roger, Chris, Ruth and Mary. Apologies from Debbie. Chairman’s report was delivered by Roger. In the last year we have consolidated the work in the meadow, with volunteers maintaining grass cutting, and general maintenance. The events organised were related to the sustainability grant, so we planted a willow tunnel, bought and erected bird and bat boxes, and had a drumming workshop for all the village. This event coincided with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration. On this weekend we also hosted a “bring your own” picnic, and had a walking quiz, which encouraged us to find out more about our village. In general people enjoyed these events and the Village Events team were grateful for our participation. We have also bought a supply of hand tools and other equipment to enable us to carry out routine maintenance into the future. We have had some working parties, which have not been very well attended, but the bulb planting sessions were helpful in recruiting new members.

Roger deliver the financial report, audited by Jo Walshe. We seem to have funds to support the ongoing work at for the next 4 years at least.

The committee were unanimously re-elected, with the addition of new member Chris joining the committee. We discussed future developments. Roger has mentioned the possibility of a water feature to the Parish Council, without much of a response. We think in general awetland patch would be safer, but allow for greater biodiversity. We could dig out a scrape, line it with membrane, backfill with earth and allow it to fill with natural rainfall, but prevent rapid drainage by using the membrane. With our present workforce, this will be for future development, once everything else is under control.

As we missed the chance to cut the meadow areas this year, due to bad weather among other things, we need to expose a few patches in these areas to plant the rather bedraggled pots of wild flowers that have been grown over the year. We are hoping to do this before Christmas. There were also suggestions that we cut some wiggley paths through these areas to allow small children to walk through when the grass gets long. Another idea was to place some “stepping stones” in the seating area for small children to jump along. They would need to be recessed to enable the mower to go over them. We also wish to plant a couple of willow trees in the meadow areas to provide shade.

There is also work to be done on to remove some dead trees, and cutback broken branches on larger trees that could be a hazard.

We need to keep maintenance going, ensure all the paths allow easy access throughout the year, keep growing trees weed free around the base, and generally adapt to the changing circumstances as the site matures. Mary Clarke 14/12/2012

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Meeting Notes 1st March 2012

Notes on committee meeting held on Thursday 1st March 2012. Present:- Debbie, Roger, Ruth, Barrie and Mary. Also present were Malcolm and Denise.

Meadow: A piece of grassland, esp. one used for hay: a piece of low well-watered ground, esp. near a river. OED
Leaze: Pasture. Chambers

Debbie, having been inspired by Sarah Raven’s recent TV programmes feels we should change the management of the grassland in Cowleaze, to make it more friendly to bees and other insect life. The group support this, and in fact we have been gradually working towards growing more wild flowers on the site. However, last year’s efforts to grow selected plants in the gardens of members, for later transplanting to the site, was generally a failure. Some mature plants were dug in, but most of the small plug plants have disappeared! We have also been scattering local collected seeds, and digging in selected native plants in the area east of the orchard, our initial wildflower area. This area is to be mown once a year in August/September, the grass left on the surface for seeds to fall out, and then cleared away to compost after a couple of weeks. High fertility is the problem, and small quantities of Yellow Rattle seeds were sown last autumn. We hope some will grow this year.

The area under discussion is that cut and flailed last autumn. Ideally this would be cut very short, and the first few inches of top soil removed to reduce fertility. This was agreed to be too difficult and expensive to carry out with our very small number of volunteers, and we would have problems disposing of the soil. We have decided to act as follows:

1. Spray nettles

2. Cut grass short using our mower when weed killer has worked. Remove cut grass.

3. Scarify the ground.

4. Scatter wild flower seed mixture when these activities are completed. Allow naturally occurring grass to regrow.

5. Plant purchased plug plants.

6. Cut grass in autumn as used on initial wildflower area. Debbie to investigate seed purchase (we agreed to source Somerset raised flowering plant seeds, with emphasis on nectar producing flowers). Debbie to investigate plug plant availability, cost etc. List of proposed plants to be presented to committee. Roger to spray; also to investigate hire of scarifier. Rest of group to help in preparation and planting of site as quickly as possible.

Thanks to Keith, Barrie, Roger and Mary for planting hedgerow plants on site on two days last week. We have now filled the gaps in the hedging planted last year, and have a few in a “nursery” corner.

We are organising events on Cowleaze on2nd June as part of the Jubilee celebrations. We will need to be on hand on Friday to receive the Portaloos, and ensure they are secure. We will also need to start early on Saturday morning to prepare the gazebos, tables and chairs for our use. The plan is for a quiz/information hunt to take place from 11am onwards. Initial questions are being collected, and photos are being prepared. Question sheets will be distributed at Cowleaze, and returned completed by 2pm. These will be checked, and winners announced at the street party (perhaps) on Monday. The “bring your own” picnic will take place in the seating area from 12noon onwards. Roger and Barrie to organise th e power source and connections for some music during the picnic From 2 to 4pm the drumming workshop will run, with everyone welcome to join in a session. We will then need to clear away, and transport gazebos, tables and chairs to the Rec for the evening event. We will need volunteers to help set up, carry equipment to and fro, supervise the Quiz distribution and collection, and generally make the event work. Please can you tell us what you would like to do, and how much time you can give etc.

Any suggestions for quiz questions etc gratefully received.

Mary Clarke, 2nd March 2012.

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Meeting Notes January 2012

Notes on committee meeting held on Thursday 12th January 2012. Present Ruth, Roger, Barrie and Mary.

We discussed the three organisations that had sent us details of what they could offer us as a community drumming experience, as part of our Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations on Saturday 2nd June 2012. We chose Victoria Gater from Frome, who will provide a series of short workshops from 2-4pm. She can cater for up to 20 people at a time. 2 people will run the workshops, and chairs for the participants will be required and also gazebos to enable the activity to continue in spite of rain etc.Mary to contact all applicants; also to contact events committee re use of gazebos, and the village hall committee about borrowing chairs for the afternoon.

We propose to run a quiz/hunt for information around the village form 10am to 12 midday, a village picnic from 12-2 pm (bring your own food, drink and seating). We may provide a barbeque so people can cook their own food. Roger to enquire about the possibility of having music during the lunch, either pre recorded, for which we will need a power supply, or a live performer who may not need amplification. We are not sure if any electricity could be supplied by a local resident, of if the distances cables would have to run would be a problem. The picnic will be followed by the drumming workshop.

There is to be a work party on Sunday 22nd January. Roger and Barrie are unable to attend, and Mary may not be able to. Tasks to be completed include:- Filling in bare earth by willow tunnel with spare turf; cutting back buddleia near stream edge and public footpath; starting to clear the brambles on the edge of the stream from the “den” area, towards the main gate. This will open up the bank side to allow grass to grow, and produce a more congenial habitat for water voles; some trees planted in the seating area are making grass cutting next to the fence difficult, and need to be relocated in the dormant period. There are always plenty of jobs to be done. Contact Debbie for final details on 241 756. Mary H Clarke 16/01/2012

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