Herefordshire meadows to be turned into 40-ha reserve


A series of meadows on the outskirts of Hereford are to be transformed into a 40-ha nature reserve

Bartonsham Meadows, which is owned by Church Commissioners for England, will be managed by the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust (HWT). It has signed a long-term lease with the church body and promised to "restore the meadows for wildlife and for people".

Barn Owl is found at Bartonsham Meadows (Ian Curran).

HWT said it would plant wildflowers and grasses, restore hedges and perhaps create new ponds. The land, to the south-east of the city, has been owned by Church Commissioners for England since the 1850s and was previously used for grazing cattle.

HWT has taken on the management this spring and said it was a popular place for walkers, but also a home for "iconic wildlife such as Eurasian Skylarks, Barn Owls and voles."

It said it would take some time to restore the site and it planned to improve public access by restoring the existing footpaths. The trust said the fields were also part of important natural flood management for the area.

The chair of campaign group Friends of Bartonsham Meadows has called for the site to be protected for wildlife and access for local residents. Its chair Ruth Westoby said: "This project has such potential to bring the local community together and provide solutions for regional flooding and river pollution and mitigate global climate change."