Stubbs Green Meadow at its June best!
Coordinators: Ed Howard and Frank Mitchell
Overview: An exceptional old meadow with a dense and varied meadow flora including Yellow Rattle, Cowslip, Hoary Plantain, Meadow Buttercup, Ox-eye daisy, an occasional Southern Marsh Orchid and many hundreds of Common Spotted Orchids. Butterflies include Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper, and Small, Essex and Large Skippers It also benefits from a very good pond where dragonflies and damselflies abound. Dragons include Southern Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Brown Hawker, 4 Spotted Chaser, Broad Bodied Chaser, Scarce Chaser (in 2010), Black Tailed Skimmer and Emperor whilst Damsels include Common Blue, Azure, Blue tailed, Large Red and Small Red-eyed. Nesting birds include Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcaps, Longtailed Tits Yellowhammer and Song Thrush.
Management in 2017: The primary management of the meadow is carried out by Ed Howard on behalf of the Shotesham Commons Trustees. This includes a summer hay cut and baling. The Conservation Group’s tasks on the meadow are:
- Cut and rake the rough edges during the winter to stop hedge encroachment
- Cut and rake around the pond to maintain access and allow light in and to encourage late summer flowers such as fleabane (good feeding for Blues like Brown Argus butterflies)
- Pile cuttings to provide a compost heap for grass snakes
- Cut and rake the margins of the Great Wood to keep it clear for meadow flowers, especially the orchids
- Leave an area of brambles and thistles for butterfly and bee food.
In respect of the pond:
- We remove some emergent plants (eg Branched Bur-Reed) each winter to keep the balance of open water and vegetation. Efforts to kill off the invasive NZ Pygmy weed have not worked and it looks as though we will just have to manage it by raking it back each year.
And finally, around the hedges:
- We will strive to keep a good mix of hedge types and structures by leaving plenty of tall and wide hedge whilst laying and or coppicing some on a rotation. Whilst doing this we will interplant some native fruiting shrubs to improve the variety of food sources.
- We will monitor the effects of Ash dieback and look at planting some replacement Oaks and other native species within the hedges.