Temporary or ephemeral ponds add an interesting dimension to any natural space that can sustain them. Their temporary nature means that they are often devoid of fish, other predators and competitors which might be present in more permanent ponds, thus a unique habitat is created for distinctive plants and insects which are specially adapted to these conditions. Stourbridge Common being a flooplain is perfectly suited to sustaining this type of habitat therefore four more pools were dug recently. Wetter areas were chosen for these pools in the hope that when the water table is high these depressions will hold water for long enough to encourage a flush of life, insect species but hopefully natal amphibians life too.
Work has been happening at two of our reserves to kick start our meadow areas for summer. Both Bramblefields reserve in Chesterton and Byron's Pool in Trumpington have had a large area of top soil removed in the grassland areas. Although it can look a little extreme at first but the end result will be worth it. By removing the top layer which already has a well established seed bank for nettles, docks, brambles and the tougher grasses it gives a window of opportunity to try and establish a more diverse suite of vegetation which includes many of our beautiful native wildflowers which find it hard to compete. Hopefully this summer these areas will be full of colour and nectar, appreciated by humans and invertebrates alike!
Byron's pool reserve is to gain a new pond or rather re-instate an old forgotten pond. Retrospective land surveys of the reserve had always shown the presence of a pond but over time and with much bramble growth and fallen trees it had become very hard to know if this was still the case. This week a team of tree surgeons undertook a massive clearance of the area and discovered that the old pond did in fact exist and was still holding some water. This fantastic discovery is most welcome news. The pond will be re-profiled and the area cleared a little more and hopefully by this spring it can be restored to it's former glory and then some!

Logan’s meadow nature reserve has been the site of lots of work recently. Much tree work has been done, pollarding of many of the large older willows has been the most visible aspect of the work undertaken. One of the results of this is increased light levels which in turn gives the opportunity to plant new younger trees which can add to diversity and improve the overall structure and health of the woodland. Wet woodland species were chosen to cope best with the habitat at Logan’s and last Saturday some happy volunteers had the pleasure of planting them, a great way to spend a morning!

If you are interested in joining the conservation volunteers please email: parks@cambridge.gov.uk

 

 

Logan’s Meadow reserve is having a major make over. The most noticeable work is the pollarding of the Willows along the river bank. It can look a little extreme at first but this essential work has to happen every now and then in a willow’s life cycle if they are growing an area with a high foot-fall.

The trees had become dangerous with many shedding large limbs. The area beneath the trees is well used by the public therefore the risk became too great. The job involved pollarding all the trees at the same time  because they have all grown together as a single unit which means leaving some trees for another year would just make those left exposed and vulnerable to wind throw and further failure. The contractors are working sensitively, preserving many potential bat roosts sites, creating safe deadwood and keeping lower limbs to act as a screen and aid the tree’s regrowth, which should be rapid and with increased vigor.

Other clearance work happening at Logan’s is as a response to increased anti-social activity at the site. There has been a drive to open up large sections and create more light. As well as making the site feel safer it also is a chance to increase the biodiversity of plant life as extra light equals more opportunity for different species to find favorable conditions.

Also more young trees are due to be planted in some of the newly created spaces which will hopefully give a more varied structure to the wooded areas.

If you would like further information about the work please email: parks@cambridge.gov.uk