Planting the scrapes
by Ian Bushell
Today’s work party [the 15th] was all out planting in the mud.
As usual we met up in the carpark and were joined there by Connor from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust who had brought along all the plugs and seeds that we needed to begin to establish the three scrapes in Lambrok Meadow. The early frost had gone but it was still quite chilly and everybody had warm coats, wellies and spades or trowels for the task; later we were joined by Countryside Officer Ali Rasey.
We had plugs and seeds for water loving and marginal plants:
Purple-loosestrife –Lythrum salicari
Marsh-marigold –Caltha palustris
Yellow Flag Iris –Iris pseudacorus
Common Sedge –Carex nigra
Greater Pond-sedge –Carex riparia
Soft Rush –Juncus effuses
Common Club Rush –Schoenoplectus lacustris
Unbranched Bur-reed –Sparganium emersum
Greater Reedmace –Typha latifolia [Bulrush]
Meadowsweet –Filipendula ulmaria
In addition, some water’s edge meadow mix seeds were scattered around the edges of all the scrapes and spare seed is being held for later scattering together with Purple Loosestrife and Meadowsweet seeds.
It was hard work struggling through the clay to plant the plugs at the edge of the water; boots were nearly sucked off or ended up like great clobbering moon boots.
Great. What will be done to deter owners from letting dogs go into the ponds? Are they fenced off?
We put up notices asking people to keep their dogs out of the scrapes but they have been torn down. We installed a dog dip further down the stream in the hope that people would take their dogs there instead of letting them run through the scrapes but that doesn’t seem to be working either. All other suggestions will be received gratefully because we really don’t want to begin fencing off parts of the reserve.
Just asking, but why aren’t dogs allowed there, I thought it was a park for all people
It’s a nature reserve: Southwick Country Park Nature Reserve. Yes, it’s accessible to all but off-lead dogs in the wetland areas can be very damaging for the reserve’s wildlife. There is a dog dip in the stream, downstream of the two backwater scrapes.
Where exactly is the dog dip, the last two times I walked there, there was no water in them
I don’t know hence the question.
The dog dip is in the stream where the footpath from the church field crosses. We have put gravel on the stream bed and steps down the bank.
It must be really tricky balancing what people see as their right to let dogs off lead with running a nature reserve.
I can’t begin to tell you…..
In what way damaging, last summer dogs were banned from the main pond with no reason given, it was the first time I had seen that in all the years going there, many people took their dogs there for a walk and a cool down to be met with the signs
Last summer, as the drought took hold, all the pond’s inhabitants were squeezed into less and less water. We asked people to keep their dogs out of the pond to give the wildlife the best possible chance of surviving. I’m sorry the notices didn’t make that clear.
I hope the planting doesn’t turn out to be a waste of time and money, given that dogs are frequently running all over and in the scrapes.
I have said it so many times, now that it is a Nature Reserve there needs to be a PROPER sign in the car park that informs people of how they should behave in a Nature Reserve. Putting small A4 signs up is a waste of time, especially if people don’t even walk past them. I have also said this many times: The reserve is big enough to keep dog owners happy AND have the wildlife protected.
We are now in the nesting season and many Nature Reserves have enforced a dogs on lead policy to protect the nesting birds. And we have dogs running everywhere, through hedges and woods. Quite frankly, it’s a joke.
I’m not having a go at dog owners, after all, given the lack of signage and regulation in the reserve, they are only doing what they are allowed to do.
I can only conclude that the council don’t care about the reserve as a habitat for wildlife. It is also clear that they are afraid to make bold decisions to protect wildlife for fear of upsetting dog owners. I guess securing votes is more important than protecting our wildlife.
Can you please issue an updated map which may be of help to dog owners where the dog dip is located, in all the time visiting Southwick Country Park never seen any signage referring to dog access to certain areas of the park area and I like many other dog owners would like to support your endeavours rather than unwittingly causing damage.
I will pass that request on to the people who are in charge of signs – but in the next couple of days I’ll post a map on the website showing the dog dip.
Please can someone explain to me what damage the dogs do to the wildlife, what and how the wildlife is damaged, especially in the original pond,
Gary, that is such a good question that, with your permission, I will use it as the basis for a post during the next couple of days. We, the volunteers who work in the park, are so used to planning for biodiversity that we forget that there are other park-users who might have a different agenda. Thanks for the question, keep an eye on the website and tell me if it’s not okay to use your name.