Logan’s Meadow nature reserve is situated adjacent to the river cam in Chesterton. Although the location is quite central and well used it has become a vital haven for riparian species in the city. Logan’s Meadow is also well placed when seen in the wider context of the river Cam’s connectivity to the landscape beyond the town. It forms another green space link which stretches from Waterbeach and beyond. Please see the Wicken Fen Vision project for further information on this concept. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wicken-fen-nature-reserve/features/wicken-fen-vision
It was with this in mind that the project to extend the reed bed at Logan’s Meadow was first conceived.
Funding for this project was secured from Section 106 revenue.
To increase the wetland area on the reserve earth works were carried out which firstly created a new meandering stream which entered the reserve from the Cam and made it’s way across what was previously part of the Pye rec football pitches and then exited into another inlet on the original reserve. The banks of this stream were profiled to create emergent shelves which extended into the meadow. These shelves would facilitate seasonal wetting and flooding. The areas were then planted up with Common reeds, Marsh Marigolds, Purple Loosestrife, Water mint, Ragged Robin and other marginal plant species to generate a wetland habitat.
Invaluable local volunteers again came out in force to do this planting which was tough work as the ground was heavy and obviously and albeit intentionally, very wet!
Some of the plants arrived in pre-planted mats which could be planted in a single group.
Some of the reeds however needed to be planted individually, again hard work!
Hard work but satisfying as relatively quickly the new reed bed took shape.
The project also included the construction of a new footpath which linked the riverside bridge to the reserve. A raised boardwalk was also added to gives views into the reed bed and provide a suitable area for educational visits and pond dipping.
Impact of the project:
The project has been extremely successful for attracting species but also for enhancing the reserve and the local area. The added interest and beauty to the former football pitch cannot be overstated. The reed bed also compliments the existing presence of the Swift Tower and gives a focus to the viewing area on the riverside footbridge.
Species to arrive and thrive which are most exciting are Reed warblers, Siberian Chiff Chaff, Water Rail, King Fishers, Herons, Swifts, reed bed specialist invertebrates but perhaps the most enchanting is the Water Vole. This small native mammal is under serious threat from habitat loss and predation therefore it was particularly thrilling to see this animal move in and make Logan’s Meadow it’s permanent home.
Perhaps the most surprising element to this project was how quickly the reed bed established and seemed like it had always been there.
Definitely worth a visit, see if you agree!