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Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society
Meadow Project

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

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. 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.


Management Review May 2019

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. On both occasions the purchase price was raised by donations from the public and the fund raising was managed by the Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society. 

The Company is limited by guarantee which means it doesn’t have shareholders but is “owned” by members who give a personal guarantee for the debts of the company in the event of its liquidation (although the sum guaranteed by each member cannot exceed £1).

Nayland Meadow 2019

The current members are all sitting on the board of the Company and comprise John Alexander (Chairman) Dipak Warren (Secretary) David Heigham (Treasurer) and Martin Wright, Richard Cave, David Slater and Mike Hunter.

Recently the board 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 and the Project arranged for the Suffolk Wildlife Trust to make specific management recommendations contained in a draft management plan to cover the next five years. Similarly, the Environment Agency have also made a number of recommendations all of which are under consideration by the board. Once the plan is in a final form the local community will be informed of the progress being made.

The Meadow Project Beginnings

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