Management plan for 3 Ponds Meadow

Coordinators: Ed Howard and Frank Mitchell

Overview: This is a privately owned site adjacent to the Small Wood. Most of the management is carried out by the coordinators along with 2 or 3 other individuals. It was managed as a wildlife site by the previous owner but was then neglected for many years and became very overgrown with trees and the ponds and meadow were heavily shaded. A programme of felling and clearing over the past 3 years has opened the site out. One of the ponds has been extended and all 3 ponds benefit from much more light. It has a perimeter hedge on 2 sides with some veteran Oak trees and (and has the Small wood on the other 2 sides) so is well sheltered. The management is aimed at enhancing the site for wildflowers, butterflies and bees and aquatic invertebrates. It is already a good site for dragon and damsel flies and is one of the few sites in Shotesham for White Admiral butterflies. Public access is limited to protect the site, but can be arranged for interested parties. We are carefully monitoring and recording the site.

Management (by Conservation Group) in 2015: The main task each year is a cut and rake in the winter, mainly to stop brambles and scrub taking over the open areas. Some mature stands of bramble are left to provide shelter and food for insects and birds. Because of the tendency for parts of the area to become waterlogged in late winter we will cut the west part (which gets wettest) in December and the rest in March.

To encourage target butterflies the Garden Group members have agreed to cultivate wild honeysuckle to go into the hedges and dog violets to spread around.