Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, working in partnership with The Friends of Broad Meadow and Tamworth Borough Council, were awarded £5,000 towards ditch works on Broad Meadow from the 2018-19 PEBBLE fund.
Broad Meadow is a noted Site of Botanical Interest and a designated local nature reserve. The site is a flood-plain habitat and also holds the county’s largest population of snake head fritillaries.
The PEBBLE fund was used to create a wildflower area and community engagement events, including surveying and monitoring on the site. In addition, funds were also used to improve the ditch network across the site.
An area of woodland on the site was seeded in an organic seed mix to increase diversity across the site and reduce dominant grass species.
The mix was a nectar rich mix of wild flowers including bluebell, red campion, primrose and wild garlic which will benefit a variety of invertebrates.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust hosted a number of family WildPlay events and used volunteers from The Friends of Broad Meadow to undertake a bird count across the site.
The remaining PEBBLE fund was used towards the improvement of the ditches on the site, with over 650m of ditches being improved.
The ditches will be managed in a way that manages and improves the population of the naturally occurring snake head fritillaries. Prior to the work, the ditches were steep sided and offered little biodiversity benefit.
With the PEBBLE fund, contractors have been able to landscape the ditches to improve biodiversity potential and to retain water across the site. This was done in a number of ways. On the main ditch, two earth bunds were installed with semi-permanent oak piles, which will help to backfill the existing dry ditches and train and ground water. The natural earth bunds were formed with naturally occurring clay from the site and topped with grass to help bind the surface as the site is grazed. Other earth bunds were created across the site using material that was removed from the main drain during landscaping and earth works.
Finally, a large scrape was created on the site with a depth of at least 30cm, which will limit vegetation encroachment.
The scrape contains scalloped edges and is approximately 400m2. The scrape is located close to the existing ditches and the walls of the nearby ditches were excavated to allow the scrape to be fed by excess rainfall.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust will continue monitoring the site over the coming years and future management of the site might include the creation of more scrapes and small dragonfly pools.
Broad Meadow nature reserve
Find out more about the nature reserve at Broad Meadow.
Posted: December 2021