Nayland Meadow
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Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society
Meadow Project


In March 2004, following an appeal for contributions, the Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society purchased 16.98 acres of land bordered to the north by the River Stour and to the south by a strip of land owned by Bunting & Sons adjacent to Horkesley Road.

The Nayland with Wissington Land Company Limited, now a registered charity, was formed to own and manage this water meadow in perpetuity. The sum of £65,000 was raised to purchase this land and grateful thanks are due to the more than ninety individuals and organisations who supported the appeal. 

The fishing, which now belongs to the Land Company, has been made exclusively available to all residents of the parish of Nayland and Wiston. 

Arable Reversion
After discussion it was decided that the land should revert to grassland under the Defra Suffolk River Valleys Enrivonmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme. This involved seeding with a suitable grass/conservation mix. Since this has become established a local grazier puts his sheep on the meadow between March and November.

Grants for fencing the land, on the inside of the public footpath, were obtained from Defra and the Suffolk Environmental Trust assisted by Babergh District Council, who also funded a small area of planting as shown on the plan.

In November 2005 two classes from Nayland Primary School helped plant the young trees, directed by Peter Ennis of the Dedham Vale Project.

Pond Scheme
The Environment Agency approached us with a view to creating a permanent wetland habitat and pond. This “back water” habitat is identified by the Environment Agency as important for maintaining fish stocks.

Planning permission was granted for this work, which was completed in early 2005.  

The shallow pond is linked to the River Stour by a short channel (culvert beneath the footpath) and surrounded by reedbeds. (Plants sourced locally.)

The Dedham Vale and Stour Valley Project were involved in habitat improvement work.  To compensate for the loss of flood plain capacity a shallow scrape was created on the opposite side of the meadow (beside the weir). The spoil was used to widen the footpath along the riverbank but not to raise it.

This £30,000 scheme was jointly funded by Defra and the Environment Agency at no cost to us. Maintenance is carried out by the EA assisted by the Dedham Vale Project, our contractor and local volunteers.

Meadow Plan
Click for larger plan of the meadow or
Click for 2005 Press release (pdf 493Kb)

Meadow February 2005
February 2005 - click for larger image

Meadow March 2005
March 2005 - click for larger image
Meadow Sheep
Sheep were introduced in August 2005 - click for larger image
Tree Planting 2005
November 2005 Tree Planting - click for larger image
Meadow Sheep
Sheep continue to graze the meadow - click for larger image
Wild Flowers
Wild flowers have established - click for larger image


Annual maintenance of the wildflower belt involves cutting and removing the dead grass and plants in the autumn.  This helps to remove nutrients from the soil which in turn weakens the grass while improving conditions for wildflower seed germinations.

The piled up cuttings in turn create a suitable overwintering habitat for small mammals and grass snakes.

In 2010 the Environment Agency cleared a quantity of reeds from the river near the Nayland Weir and Mill Lade, the spoil of which was deposited on the meadow.  By the autumn this had mostly reduced and the flood catchment area was re-instated.


Wildflower Cut
The annual cut of the wildflower belt taking place at the beginning of October 2011

Meadow footpath cutting

Members were asked to let the Hon. Secretary know when the public footpath beside the river gets overgrown, so that it can be cut by our contractor.   This might help to stop people using an unofficial track beside the fence which is damaging the wildflower belt and which was mistakenly cut by Suffolk County Council recently.



First Otter sighting on the Nayland Meadow Pond
November 2013

Rob Dryden (Technical Specialist, Environment Agency) has sent this wonderful photograph and writes:

I spent a happy ten minutes watching the otter fish (very secretively). At one point a trail of bubbles came right across the pond towards me, the otter continued under the floating blanket weed fringe to the pond, and then was rustling around in the vegetation at the edge of the pond, less than 10m from me but infuriatingly completely hidden from view. I think it might have exited the pond via the (underwater) pipes that connect the pond to the river.

This was the third living otter that I’ve seen in the Stour in the last two years.

Click to view full image (pdf 198Kb)

Otter Sighting
Lady's Smock Fencing Maintenance
March 2014

Sean Norfolk and his assistant started work yesterday (April 9th) replacing rotten poles and broken wire fencing on Nayland Meadow.

It is 10 years since the Land Company acquired the land and the fencing is consequently in need of repair.  The sheep will be put out on the Meadow very shortly and it is good to know that the fencing will be secure.

The cowslips are making a good show this year and a couple of stems of Lady's Smock or Cuckoo Flower (cardamine pratensis) were also spotted amongst the dandelions.

Wild Flowers
July 2014

The Nayland Meadow wildflower belt is looking stunning this year, with a splendid show of wildflowers and a huge number of butterflies and insects enjoying the varied habitat.

Wild Flowers Wild Flowers