© 2017 Falcon Meadow Community Trust

Falcon Meadow

Management Statement

Website by Sally Harrington and Tony Dawes

Falcon Meadow, Bungay


Overview

Falcon meadow is 1.7 hectares of damp semi-improved grassland in the town of Bungay. It is surrounded by water with the River Waveney to the south and a drain to the north. The soil is fertile and dominated by rank grasses and herbs such as nettle Urtica diocia and hemlock Conium maculatum. Marginal vegetation is found alongside the river and young willow (Salix sp.) and mature alder Alnus glutinosa line the northern ditch. Barn owls hunt on the meadow and otters have been recorded in the river. There is a damp, shallow depression dominated by reed sweet grass Glyceria maxima linking up to the drain towards the north western end of the meadow.


The site is regularly used for recreation with a public footpath running alongside the river.


Species-rich meadows and pastures are one of the most vulnerable habitats in lowland England, with estimates of their decline since 1945 at up to 97%.  A NWT report into the condition of Norfolk meadows, (The State of Norfolk’s Magical Meadows, NWT 2008), shows that over 60% of the sites visited were declining due to inadequate or inappropriate management.  Consequently, caring for sites such as this one represents a significant contribution to wildlife conservation in Norfolk.



Current site condition and management

The meadow has been cut at various times over the growing season. The cuttings have been left in-situ which has contributed to a build-up of nutrients allowing the more rank grasses and herbs to dominate. There is little scrub encroachment with scrub and trees confined to the northern ditch edge. Marginal and emergent vegetation is found alongside the river and the drain has both shaded and light areas with open water along most of the length.



Ideal site condition


Conservation priorities


Management recommendations

Conservation priority

Prescription

Time of year

Delivered by

Notes

Improve grassland diversity


Initiate annual programme of management either by grazing or cutting.


a) Grazing – use hardy breed of cattle e.g. Highland, Dexter, Red Poll, Galloway etc.


or


b) Cutting – this will mimic the traditional ‘hay cut’ and all cuttings must be baled and removed


or


c) Cut as above and graze the aftermath with cattle or ponies


a) Grazing: June – Oct











b) Cutting: July/August. Second cut in September if re-growth strong.






c) Cut July/August

Graze two weeks after cut until late September


Landowners/local grazier












Local farmer/contractor/volunteers


-Prior to reintroduction of grazing, fencing and appropriate infrastructure (e.g. drinks) need to be installed

-Standard grazing rate approx: 1 cow/ha during prescribed grazing period

-Appropriate livestock may be ‘borrowed’ and arranged via NWT



-Employ local farmer/contractor to cut and bale if possible.


-Unlikely to want to bale due to hemlock so could cut & collect & leave in pile on edge instead.


-Or enlist volunteers to hay rake and leave hay in habitat piles at west end of meadow or remove if possible.


Maintain drain diversity and create a mix of shaded and open areas.


Cut young willow at the eastern end of the meadow and treat stumps of those trees encroaching on to the meadow.


Coppice young alder adjacent to drain in rotation.


Coppice occasional mature alder trunks to thin alders on stretch towards bend in ditch.


Clear dumped cut trees and vegetation blocking flow of water in western end of ditch.

October-Mid Feb to avoid nesting season for all felling/coppicing

Contractor/volunteers


Cut/coppice trees in rotation so not all done in the same year.


Maintain/improve marginal river vegetation


Annual maintenance by:


a) Graze the river margins.


or


b) Cut bankside vegetation in rotation




June-October





July/August




Farmer/grazier





Contractors/volunteers




Allow cattle to graze river bank. If at low density bank should not get poached.


Cut patches of the river bank vegetation in a three year rotation so that not all of the bank is cleared at once but no patch is left uncut for more than three years. This prevents the build-up of rank grasses, nettles and scrub suppressing other plants. Cut at same time as field or use strimmers in late summer /autumn. Remove cuttings.


Restore open southern drain


Remove central area of reed sweet grass from drain. Drain could be re-profiled in to a more pond like body.

September


Contractor/Volunteers


Remove reed sweet grass with a digger or by using hand tools such as chromes. Do not use a digger if site is wet as grassland will be damaged.


Make sure the drain profile is varied with shallow sloping sides providing suitable habitat for marginal vegetation. If re-profiling into a pond-like body dig to approx. 0.60 deep in central area to enable amphibians to survive in extreme weather. However most of the pond should contain shallow areas of water to benefit wildlife.


Remove pond material from site as it contains nutrients which will benefit the more rank grassland species.


Tony Dawes