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This autumn there will be the opportunity have a go at hedge laying.  Learn the skills practised by Naylanders (and others) in the 16th century ….. !   Neil Catchpole will be continuing the laying of the hedgerow he started last year, and he is happy to teach anyone from the village who is interested about this rural skill.  What could be more fun ?

An initial demonstration and training day will be held on  - Please note these dats have been POSTPONED, we will advise of the new dates - Saturday 13 November starting promptly at 9:30 am and carrying on until dusk.  Hedge laying is then planned to take place on Tuesday 16 November and the following Tuesdays until the laying of the hedge is completed.  There will be a maximum of 12 places on each of those days for volunteers to be practically involved with Neil.  He will give a health and supervise the hedge laying work of all volunteers.   

If you are not sure whether or not to commit to a day, you are very welcome to come along on the training day to observe and see what is involved before deciding.

[Sturdy boots, long trousers, hat and leather gloves are all essential …..and refreshments.  Tools will be provided, but if you have your own sharp billhook, bow saw with a new blade, croppers,  sledgehammer or some safety goggles please bring them with you.  What could be more fun ???]

Dates :  have been POSTPONED, we will advise of the new dates.  Please meet at the entrance to The Anchor Car Park.

To book a place please contact John Carpenter  -

Hedge Laying

We need YOUR help PLEASE! Please read on…..

You will all know the meadow (opposite side of the river from Caley Green, to the south of the rear of the houses on Bear Street and north of the Horkesley Road and east of the A134) around which snakes attractively the River Stour.


To remind people -  in 2005 the Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society raised money to acquire the main meadow. A like process was undertaken in 2012 to acquire the adjoining 2/3 of the adjoining field on the southern boundary from the Buntings. It is quite simply an extraordinary communal achievement that it was ever acquired.  A testament to opportunity, vision and generosity.  It is now held by a separate entity limited by guarantee that is a charity – the Nayland with Wissington Land Company now commonly known as the Nayland Land Company. Some £85,000 or so was raised and spent on acquisition. As this meadow is owned by a charity it is held for the benefit of all ie you!  It is something which all residents and visitors to Nayland can enjoy forever and it is managed responsibly  in accordance with the principles applicable to a charity (and its objects) and a Conservation Area and the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

But nothing comes from nothing. NLC now needs your help again. It needs two things I’m afraid: money and volunteers. Please bear with me !

A plea…

NLC is dependent upon grants (which I fear are ever diminishing) and donations. To those who have given both on acquisition and subsequently there is a debt of gratitude as well as a huge sense of achievement in helping to secure a site that will never be developed and will be enjoyed forever.  This amenity is there in perpetuity for you, your children and your children’s children etc etc….. !  But it needs funds now for both simple upkeep and further environmental, biodiversity and educational initiatives.  You will already have seen the creation of a wildflower meadow, tree planting, a new permissive path, a new bench to admire the meadow and a revitalised double hedge (dividing the main meadow from the smaller fields) laid in a traditional manner – truly a work of art in itself [ – see opportunity below !] plus 200 metres of dead hedge and an area set aside for re-wilding. NLC is engaging with the local schools to carry out an important educational role for local children.

What has been achieved could not have been achieved without people’s generosity.  But it is time for another showing of that generosity now.  If you can please support NLC now by donating money then please do so AND better still please donate by way of a regular deed of covenant.  I would never ask you to do what I would not do and I have set up my own annual recurring donation.  Please do not assume others will provide everything.  Gift Aid is available.  And 100% of donations are set to work.

For further details on donating by contact me on or 07768 006546.  

Secondly we do need volunteers during the year to help out from time to time with their labour on the meadow itself. 

What the community itself can do means we do not need to spend money on getting others to do it.  This is not arduous and you will have a real sense of achievement in helping a project that should be there forever and of community giving. In the first instance we are simply putting together a list of people prepared to give up an hour or more to help out from time to time.  No previous experience is needed !   Please help.   Again if you can help please let me know – details as above.
September 2021

Land Management
(September 2020)

The annual cutting of the wildflower strip has taken place although some areas have been left uncut to provide an overwintering habitat for invertebrates and small mammals. The majority of the cut grass has been piled on a site behind the area known as Richard’s Wood as wild flowers need a comparatively unfertile area if they are to thrive. The remainder has been spread on the main field in the hope that wild flowers will be encouraged to seed more widely.
Suffolk County Council have given permission for some trees to be planted in the area on the corner of the junction between the A134 and Horkesley Road adjacent to the Land Company field. Once this area has been planted it is hoped that the trees will provide a barrier to traffic noise.

It is proposed that in November hedge layering of the first section of the hedgerow between the two conservation fields will commence. The larger trees will remain but elsewhere the hedgerow will be cut back and laid.

Photos: Wildflower strip alongside the Meadow, Ladies Bedstraw (yellow) and Black Knapweed (Purple)


Wildflower Belt

Footpath Access to the Meadow

In June 2020 improvement to the Stour Valley Footpath was made by the construction of steps and a handrail in place of the earthen slope which descended from the A134 just south of the River onto the footpath running along the southern bank of the Stour. The cost of this project was generously funded by the Dedham Vale AONB and the Nayland with Wissington Community Council.

Footpath Steps

Meadow Tree Planting

The Nayland with Wissington Land Company with the help of Emma Black and her volunteers from the Dedham Vale AONB & Stour Valley Project have completed the in-field planting of numerous trees in the Conservation Meadow in Nayland.

The Dedham Vale AONB & Stour Valley Project through their Sustainable Development Fund have made a considerable financial contribution to the tree planting scheme and other works on the Conservation Meadow.

On 7th February 2020, following consultations with the village and the residents of Bear Street who back on to the river, the Nayland with Wissington Land Company planted a range of trees along the river bank starting below the A134 and finishing a little way below the weir.

The range of trees, which were kindly donated by the Environment Agency, included alder, hawthorn, oak and willow.


Tree Planting

New Permissive Path

In 2005 the Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society instigated a community fund raising project to acquire a large field near the centre of the village in order to safeguard the area against the possibility of future inappropriate development. The same process was undertaken in 2012 when more funds were raised by the Society from the community to acquire an adjoining field on the southern boundary.

Since that time the public have not been able to access the fields as they have been used for pasture. However, David Slater, one of the board members of the company which was formed to hold ownership of and manage the land, suggested creating a permissive footpath to permit a degree of pedestrian access. This new path links in with the existing footpath along the river and avoids pedestrians walking along the busy adjacent road.

Permissive Path

To achieve this project, it was necessary to create a new post and wire boundary for the length of the path and install a new double gate where the footpath passes from the southern field into the main field lying to the north (see plan). In addition, the board decided to implement an infield tree planting scheme which requires appropriate fencing to protect the young trees. The cost of this exercise was significant so the board made an application to the Sustainable Development Fund of the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project for assistance. In very short time the Fund made a grant available and the work on the permissive path started in early January. On the 25th of January this year Nigel Chapman, the chairman of the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project, formally opened the new path and it is already becoming a popular route.

Nayland Meadow Exhibition

Nayland Meadow Exhibition

The board were delighted with the success of the Exhibition held in Nayland Church Hall on the morning of Sunday the 3rd of November 2019. The purpose of the exhibition was to give residents an opportunity to consider the proposals for the creation of a permissive footpath, tree planting on the river bank and in field and hedge laying.

It was well attended and 33 attendees completed consultation forms. Of these, 31 were supportive of the proposals and 2 were against. A number of consultees made further suggestions and all of these are being considered by the board. It is likely that in certain circumstances a representative of the board will meet with residents to discuss their concerns. In due course the outcome of the consultation will be publicised.

The Nayland with Wissington Land Company was formed in 2005 to facilitate ownership of the Conservation Meadow abutting the north bank of the River Stour where it runs parallel with Bear Street. In 2012 a further section of land located adjacent to the first plot was acquired.

Recently the board of trustees have held a number of meetings with a view to re-visiting the previous basis upon which the land was managed. The Dedham Vale Project have been very helpful in giving management guidance. The proposals also follow meetings with Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency.

Management Review September 2019

Following the review in June the Company received a wide range of responses to the tree planting proposal from the residents in Bear Street who back on to the river. Responses both for and against the proposals were received, but of those residents that replied the majority were in favour of tree planting.

Some residents were uncertain about the precise locations of the proposed trees. In order to clarify this the Environment Agency are willing to erect stakes on the river bank to demonstrate the possible location of the trees which will face the Bear Street rear gardens. Thereafter the local residents and the wider village will be consulted on this and the related proposal for a small number of trees to be planted within the meadow.The Company is concerned with improving the state of our river and the creation of some shade is deemed to be beneficial. This is in addition to the general benefit to the local ecology and landscape arising from tree planting.

Positive discussions are continuing with the Anchor concerning the possible creation of a permissive footpath running along the south side of the double hedgerow separating the main Conservation Field from the small field and Anchor Car Park. It is hoped that agreement might be reached in the near future which will permit the creation of the path by the spring of next year.

Once these matters are resolved the Company hopes to arrange a consultation day in the Church Hall around October so that residents will have a chance to view all current proposals and give their opinion.

Chairman: John Alexander, Secretary: Dipak Warren


Management Review June 2019

The Land Company are continuing to make progress with proposed developments for the conservation field and the small field adjacent to the Horkesley Road.

Firstly, following discussions with the Environment Agency it has been agreed that the Agency will plant, at its own cost, a number of trees and shrubs along the bank of the river. Details of this planting will be available to the village in due course.

Secondly, a plan is well advanced for the planting of other trees in the main conservation field. In this respect the Woodland Trust are offering to supply some trees at no cost to the Company but all newly planted trees will require protection from the grazing sheep and rabbits, so there may be a significant expense unless grant aid can be obtained.

Thirdly the double hedge dividing the main conservation field from the small field needs some attention. Over a period of three years the Company shall arrange to lay in a traditional manner one third of the length of the hedge on the northern side each year whilst retaining some of the more significant trees within the hedgerow.  Similarly,the adjacent hedge on the southern side will be coppiced at the same time. This work shall start at the eastern end in January 2020 and it is hoped that the excess material can be used to construct a “dead hedge” which will make an ideal habitat for wildlife.

Fourthly, the Company is contacting the County Council and Borough Council to ascertain whether there might be any support for the creation of a new footbridge from Caley Green to the southern bank of the river, to be sited a short distance below the existing road bridge. Such an arrangement would mean that walkers could avoid the steep climb to the A134 and the unpleasant walk along the road before the steep descent.

Fifthly, consideration is being given to the creation of a new permissive path which would run from the south western corner of the main field (where the path leaves the area known as Richard’s Wood) and thereafter along the northern side of the high hedgerow separating the main field from the small field (running parallel with Horkesely Road) before exiting onto the track running alongside the boundary of Bridge House and the Anchor car park. To progress matters however the consent of the owners of the Anchor car park will be necessary. In future editions of the Community Times we shall keep readers informed of progress of this project.

Although the Company is very active at the moment it should not be forgotten that it has undertaken a number of activities previously including the recent clearance of undergrowth in the area known as Richard’s Wood (with the assistance of the Dedham Vale Project) and the creation of a number of stag beetle wood piles from the branches.

Richard's Wood
(August 2018)

Richard Wiles spent much time energy and money in planting trees along the western end of the Conservation Field in Nayland and in the area known as Horkesley Lock.  

In honour of Richard's extraordinary efforts in 2018 the Society erected a plaque at the entry to the area now known as ‘Richard’s Wood’.

The sad news was announced in 2018 of the passing of Richard Wiles. had previously been a farmer in Zimbabwe and tragically lost his farm during Mugabe’s land grab. The sad story of this event was recorded in Richard’s book published in 2006 entitled ‘Foredoomed is my Forest’.

Richard's Wood

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

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.

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

First Otter sighting on the Nayland Meadow Pond
October 2011

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.