Shepton Beauchamp

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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

Meeting Notes 2nd November 2011

Present Barrie, Debbie, Ruth, Roger and Mary.

We discussed grass cutting in the two areas to the east of the site, that have not been properly cut for years, apart from a trim by Ed Wakely a couple of years ago. Because of the destructive characteristics of flail mowers, we decided to cut using an Allen scythe, and see what happens. As wildlife, including insects, small mammals etc are in these areas we need to be sensitive to their requirements. Roger to talk to Loxstons about hiring one from them in the next few weeks. We would need help to rake grass, and to place on the compost heap. More info from Roger as it arises.

We have agreed to pay for materials used in the premature service of the mower, and will be speaking to Loxstons about Allen scythe hire.

The bug houses were set up last week, with lots of participation from local families—so thanks to all who helped. The houses, made from pallets and stuffed with a variety of materials, have been named as Buginham Palace and Louse Lodge. Debbie is going to make an explanatory notice to place near the structures.

The Wildlife Trust, in conjunction with SCC apple Orchard programme will be taking groups of local children to Cowlease for educational visits. This week Ilton School and Shepton School will be going.

Two events later this month. Saturday 19th November we will be cutting willow, and preparing for the erection of the tunnel, from 11am onwards, on site. We need secateurs/ sharp knives for the harvesting and preparation of the willow wands. We also need the lines for the tunnel walls to be marked, and the turf removed from a spades width at either side of this line.

On the following Saturday, 26th November the tunnel building will take place from 11am onwards. This will involve making holes to place the willow wands, planting through black plastic sheeting. I believe there will be upright willow every 6 inches approx. and wands at 45 degree to strengthen the structure. These will be tied in with string. There will be some entry and exit points along the length of the tunnel. Everyone is welcome to attend this event, especially children. Mary to contact press about this event.

We have re-applied to Tincknells for some more saplings for hedging etc, but have not yet had a response. Western Power will also be providing some saplings for Cowleaze and the recreation ground.

On a more mundane level, we have our AGM on Thursday 24th November, at 7.30 in the pub. If you have items for the agenda, please send them to me.

Mary H Clarke 2/11/2011, tel 240363,

19-08-2013 08:04

Committee Notes 15th September 2011

Notes on Shepton Beauchamp Cowleaze Meadow Project committee meeting held on Thursday 15th September 2011


Debbie, Barrie, Roger and Mary. Apologies from Ruth.


Membership of the committee was discussed. David Gordon has not attended a meeting for several months, and we are assuming that he has left the committee as we have had no communication lately. Marcus has said he does not want to attend meetings, so we assume that he is no longer on the committee. We would like any interested people to contact the group if they would like to participate more actively.


The mower has had its initial inspection and check, and is working well. Only Roger, Barrie and Nick are insured to drive it on the road, but other competent people can get involved in grass cutting. We will organise a rota for next year. Weekly cutting is still required, and more cutting is required in the growing season.


The school have not made any use of the raised bed, which has a good crop of weeds. Mary to find out what they intend to do for next year. If it is not required, we could grow wild flower seed there, rabbits permitting. If full use is to be made of the beds, perhaps a substantial fence could be erected to keep the rabbits out. As the fenced area would need mowing, there is a possibility that Barrie could provide us with some paving slabs to lay in this area, which would make management easier.

Sensory Garden

The setting up of a sensory garden in the central part of the seating area was talked about. Mary was not keen, as this would involve a lot of maintenance. Debbie would be organising it, and will put a notice in the Web to try to get interested people to get involved. There is also the possibility of growing grasses in the central seating area, native if possible. This would just require an annual cut. Roger to investigate suppliers etc.

Willow Tunnel

Debbie to contact Carol who has said she will organise the building of the willow tunnel in October/November. The initial proposal was that adults should cut willow on a weekend in late October, and the willow will be soaked in water for One week. Then it will be planted, through black plastic to suppress weeds, and mulched, and left to get on with growing. It will need pruning every year when established. If we cannot provide all the willow from the site, carol can purchase more from a local supplier. Debbie to add information about this to piece in Web.


With our sustainability grant, we will organise 3 events,the willow planting being one. We also hope to use funding for a Community Lunch in Cowleaze on the Jubilee weekend next June. This would be like the launch we held last May, with music. Roger to find if this is a suitable community event to use the funding on. It could be a picnic, where everyone contributes, of some other arrangement to be worked out. The 3rd event might be a workshop to make bat boxes, bird boxes etc. which could take place in the spring.

The cutting of the long grass at the east end of the site will take place at the October workparty, but may have to be on a weekday as if we hire a flail/allen scythe from Loxtons, it will have to be delivered and collected in working hours. If there is a wait for collection, Barrie could store it at his house until it is removed.


Barrie is keen to explore a pond/scoop or scrape in the area of long grass on the south side of the stream. This could be shallow, lined with rubber membrane held down by gravel, and filled by rainwater. This could be topped up from thr stream or tap in dry weather. It would be colonised by local flora and fauna. A site to be selected at next working party.

Bug House

Debbie has some pallets to make a bug house. She is to contact school to see if they can get children and parents to collect suitable material to encourage creatures to colonise the structures. We could them have a day in spring to construct the “houses”.


The AGM is to take place on Thursday 24th November at 7.30 in the pub. Mary to arrange with the landlord.

Apple Event

Joy Williams, SCC , is organising Apple events in the area, and our project will be used to bring local school children to inspect an orchard. Insurance needs to be clarified.

Next Sunday, 18th September—Working Party from 10 am onwards, all welcome. AGM 24th November2011
Mary Clarke 16/09/2011

19-08-2013 08:04

Grand Opening 2011

Our Grand Opening was held on Saturday 21st May 2011, which gave us an opportunity to show the village what we have achieved, and to thank everyone who has helped to bring this project to its phase one completion.

This project was initiated as part of the Parish Plan in 2005, by Debbie Welch, Marcus Jubb and Jane Neiman. They, with the assistance of Parish Councillors and local MP David Laws, persuaded Wessex Water to grant a 25year lease to the Parish Council. The group expanded to include several newcomers to the village, and we have all worked over the years to produce the present area for local use.

Due to its former function as a sewage works, much initial testing had to be completed, to ensure public safety. We have more to do, to develop a hay meadow, and encourage more wildlife to colonise the site. We hope to have some community events in the next few months so that people will feel encouraged to join in our activities.

Financial help has been provided in large part by the Big Lottery Fund via Groundworks, but also by Somerset County Council, Somerset District Council, the Parish Council and various individuals and Parish groups.

Our Project was opened by Andrew Humpherys, recently retired Chairman of the Parish Council, who unveiled our new Notice Board, and planted a tree in the orchard area. During the afternoon the school performed a maypole dance, and we were then entertained by Jeroka, a local ceilidh band , and Ian and partner of US. We all relaxed in the sunshine and had an enjoyable afternoon.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported our efforts in any way they can, and hope that villagers will be using the area for years to come.

19-08-2013 08:04

21st May 2011 - Opening

A big thank you to everyone involved in our Launch Event on Saturday. All those opening the event, and supporting our activities are warmly appreciated, especially those who helped to get the site in good order before the event. I personally wish to thank Roger who has devoted a lot of his time to basic care and maintenance, over a long period of time, often this work going un noticed.

All those moving stuff in and out, manning bars, providing food and entertaining us throughout the afternoon were appreciated by not just by the committee but all the people participating in the event. In addition I would like to say thanks to all who cleared away so quickly and efficiently, and allowed me to go home and have a cup of tea.!

I hope you will all go on using the meadow , and enjoy it for years to come.
Kind regards, Mary Clarke and all the committee.

Ps, anyone who took any photos, and would like to pass them on for all to see, please send them to me. I will assume you will not mind them going to the Village Website, and also to Les Collett from SSDC ,who was instrumental in helping us to make our initial grant application.

19-08-2013 08:04
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