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Author Topic: MARSH MEADOW  (Read 5921 times)
Watchman
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« on: June 10, 2021, 11:36:21 AM »

The grass in Marsh Meadow is now between 14 to 20 inches high across both the fields.
The Meadow was sprayed (?) two weeks ago, which, along with the favourable weather, has turbo charged the growth of the grass.
So ... Copas Farms ... when will the Meadow be cut?

It is normally cut by now to accommodate Rock The Moor (May), but because RTM has been postponed to a later date, it has been overlooked
and perhaps forgotten, causing dogs to "be lost" and paths to be overgrown and walking through it most difficult.

Isn't this a place that has been dedicated to the public for their plesure?
If so, please can we have it mown as soon as possible.
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lizzyk
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2021, 11:46:02 AM »

Is it because we are being encouraged not to mow the grass to help the wildlife? There do seem to be a lot of birds around at the moment I notice.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 03:45:48 PM by lizzyk » Logged
Watchman
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2021, 12:45:19 PM »

Sorry Liz, but I must disagree.
Why allocate the land for public, dog and horse usage and why cut it just to accommodate the RTM concert?!
The larks have all gone and the meadow is trampled on an hourly basis ...
I'd love to believe that it's for the insects benefit, but there would be hell to pay if someone or someone's dog was bitten by a snake,
which is now more likely with the grass 18 inches high.
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Birdman
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« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2021, 05:03:59 PM »

Presumably it is simply timing for the timing of best quality silage which is about this time of year. Several other fields nearby have already been done whilst others have been  left a little longer to enable Skylarks to get a first brood off.
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Paris
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2021, 09:06:59 AM »

It's been sprayed, so would guess the farmer is looking to get a crop from it this year.  Don't forget it's not a publicly owned open space, therefore manicured to within an inch of it's life, it's a place where footpaths exist and riders are kindly permitted to ride, but still in private ownership.

Besides which, how wonderful for the grass snakes (non venomous) and other wildlife to have a place to hide, and nest (there are more ground nesting birds than just skylarks) away from the amazing temperatures we're getting at the moment.  Countryside is countryside, with all its associated hazards - so probably better to get a dose of common sense rather than complain that a dog (which should be on a lead and on the footpath anyway) might get bitten by a snake.  If someone were to put a sign up listing all the hazards, mitigation steps, PPE, risk assessments, procedures and method statements, it would take so long to read and be so huge you'd never get to go for your walk.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2021, 09:12:43 AM by Paris » Logged
Bagheera
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e tenebris lux


« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2021, 04:52:05 PM »

I think that is a fair comment, Paris - apart from the public footpaths which of course there is a statutory right to walk over but NOT to ride a horse (or bike!!).

With regard to snakes, the three native snakes - adders, grass snakes and smooth snakes - are all protected species so if they ARE present, that is a good thing.

I appreciate that some prefer more tamed "countryside". That is why there are municipal parks.
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Dean Resident
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2021, 10:22:20 AM »

Paris makes excellent points..  More than 90% of traditional meadows have been lost, and every and any effort to encourage the creation of meadows gets my vote..  The point around reptiles is interesting..  being cold blooded, they prefer to bask in the sun to warm up..  which translates into them preferring short grass - not long..  This thread feels similar to the discussions around Battlemead common, and the inevitable tension between the balance between access for recreation and biodiversity...               
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Paris
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« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2021, 11:19:21 AM »

Thank you Bagheera and Dean Resident for your kind responses - I was expecting to get mown down myself for daring to use those two little words 'common sense'!

Just one point though - horse riders are permitted to use the meadow as long as they keep to the left of the field.  It's quite a long standing arrangement and one that I think we are all grateful for given the lack of off road riding in Cookham.  You are quite correct in saying that horses shouldn't be on the footpaths - and that goes for everywhere, not just Marsh Meadow.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2021, 11:22:14 AM by Paris » Logged
Watchman
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2021, 10:53:38 AM »

Paris et al ...
I do take all your points on board, however, two days ago 12 feet wide paths were mown by the farmer,
criss-crossing the two fields - to what purpose remains a mystery!

This meadow cannot have crop sown in it as the two fields have been dedicated for public use - I believe
Copas Farms did an exchange with the RBWM a while back wherein RBWM provided them with an
alternative field within which to plant crops thus leaving Marsh Meadow for the public.
Previously this used to be a potato field.

My point therefore is this:
When an event pops up  - for example -Cookham Regatta, RTM, The Two Runs / Walks, etc) when the meadow is used, with marquees
and stages popping up all over the place no one bleats about the deprivation caused to the birds, the bees, the snakes and the flora,
when the meadow gets swiftly mown to within a inch of the ground !!
This is what I find quite ironic!

As I mentioned - the larks have all flown, the swallows are few and far between, there are no butterflies (observed on a daily basis),
though for one day last week, blue dragon flies did dance around by the rivers edge, but now even they have vanished ... and still
the hay is allowed to steam upward - now up to 2 feet high and taller in places!

I am no townie (lived in the area for some 30 years)  and its all very well saying "countryside is countryside", but this is the first time
this phenomenon has been allowed to occur on Marsh Meadow, and without explanation!

Satisfactory but unemotional answers please!!
« Last Edit: June 18, 2021, 11:00:33 AM by Watchman » Logged
Paris
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« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2021, 04:56:06 PM »

Hay and silage are crops, it's not just oil seed rape, wheat and oats, etc!  Although you are probably aware of that Watchman there are probably plenty of people that don't!
(There's been, and still will be if this year's harvests aren't great, a shortage of forage crops across the country for winter animal feed.)

Not only that, and I've no idea of how this actually works, or even if it is applicable in this case, but quite often farmers are compensated when events happen on their land, thereby making up financially for 'lost' crops.  Could this have applied in the years when RTM has gone ahead?

I confess I had no idea about the swap you say happened with RBWM, or about the paths you say have been mown, perhaps they are an attempt to guide walkers?  Could it be that the meadow, if not being grown for a crop, is part of the no mow policy that RBWM seem to be adopting on road verges?

For what it's worth, I have previously made the point about how wildlife suffers as a result of RTM, as have others, but that was on the now lost Discussion Forum😉
« Last Edit: June 21, 2021, 05:23:16 PM by Paris » Logged
Watchman
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2021, 08:49:42 PM »

Grass / wheat sheafs / barley sheafs now  THREE  feet high.
No butterflies seen at all across the two fields ... BUT ... all you hay-fever sufferers ...
come on down to Marsh Meadow for a really decent sneezing fit and a touch of fever - you know it's good for you!!

Come on Copas - get real ...  this is beginning to be a joke.

Practically every walker, when asked the question, say they hate the idea of this "overgrowth" (their words, not mine) of weeds.

There are less people walking the meadow now (down by 50 percent) than in the middle of May- and all in the name of this
fictitious insect/butterfly/bird preservation. The creatures may love it, but they ain't here! Fact.

Get real - it's not happening.
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Paris
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2021, 10:02:49 AM »

I've no association with Copas Farms. I'd just like to get that straight.

IF, the grass is being allowed to grow as a forage crop, then the time to harvest is when it is at its peak for storage, either as silage or hay - not when it gets to a height where someone thinks it is a joke, or when the public thinks it is 'overgrown'.  To harvest either for hay or silage a period of dry weather is required for cutting and baling; it will rot, harbour harmful mould and bacteria, possibly even catch fire if cut, baled and stored under the wrong conditions.  
« Last Edit: June 28, 2021, 11:26:46 AM by Paris » Logged
fision
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2021, 11:57:52 AM »

So people don't like it but does the landowner have any obligation to the public to mow their field? No.
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zenti
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2021, 03:34:20 PM »

Paris has made a fair observation: why would you harvest a crop at the start of the heat-season if it is forage?

As per the paths, are these not to allow us to walk across the field rather than wade through the long grass (being aware of raptors, of course)? Watchmen, you seem to be working at odds, wanting the fields cut down on one hand but not the paths on the other. Is it all or nothing with you?!

Fision has the next good observation: Who is obligated to keep the field mown, and isn't it up to them? I thought the Moor was National Trust owned - is this not the case? If its not and privately owned then as long as the public footpaths are open the private landowner can use the land as they wish, within whatever regulations are placed on this type of land, surely? If it is National Trust owned, as I presumed, what is the arrangement with Copas as per the maintenance of the field that is being insinuated? Does the NT not conduct their own maintenance and, more likely, strict eco-system management that a private body could not be trusted to provide?

I think we mostly have a case of the "it always used to happen X way so that must be the right way". Frankly, it does little harm, and this field is hardly responsible for the nation-wide suffering of those with hay fever. I'm afraid the anecdotal evidence of "we don't like the weeds" from passers-by is hardly a motivator for an unnecessary farming operation that comes with costs to someone - I think we can understand that everyone's belts have been tightened somewhat recently.

One would think the real danger in a high-footfall area is ticks and the disease they transmit to canine and human alike. Berkshire does have more than its fair share and to me this is the only reason for concern when a field has tall grass growing.

I'm also intrigued by this barren, bird-free and insect-less wasteland that Watchmen is painting a picture of. I find on my regular ambles through Cookham's beauty that the entire area is awash with wildlife at all times of year, especially the warmer months. Certainly, I was still finding damselflies and dragonflies on a walk last weekend.
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Pongo
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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2021, 07:15:01 PM »

I suppose it will have to be cut for Letís Rock the Moor or am I being hopeful?
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