In November we held our AGM with the usual series of reports being presented:
Acting Chairman’s Report: Kevin Gibbons
Kevin thanked members who were stepping down from the committee for their work. The Management Plan needs updating with specific attention given to the grass cutting plan. Our focus for 2023 continues to be increasing biodiversity so careful planting and mowing is essential.
Secretary’s Report: Kevin Gibbons
Our membership continues to increase. In 2019 we had 190 members and in 2022 there we 221. It is gratifying that so many villagers tell us how much they appreciate the 44 acres that make up Meadow Park.
Treasurer’s Report: Andy Denker
We ended the year with a balance of over £2,000. There were several generous donations ranging from £100 to £600. This has been used to buy an alder to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and more willow trees (Arch Communications). The Happy Crocodile donated £600 and £205 was donated to the Arboretum Fund. Some of this money has yet to be spent but will buy new trees, equipment, bulbs and seeds. Unfortunately our bank charges have been increased so we are in the process of moving to the Co-Op bank.
Elections to the committee.
Over the last couple of years several committee members have had to step down. We are delighted that four of our members have stepped up to the committee.
Forest School: Andy Denker
Forest School returned to normal operations in 2022 with children from Lantern Lane spending Monday afternoons learning a variety of skills from willow weaving and den making, to learning about natural areas. Year 6 planted a silver birch adjacent to their log circle and will monitor its growth. Sadly there was some vandalism to the children’s area as six small log seats were uprooted. We are considering whether to replace them or to have something different to serve as seats. The log circle is now very worn and will be replaced in the near future.
Arboretum: Andy Denker
Regular inspections have been carried out. Excessive water or drought conditions have caused problems and the alder, sweet chestnut, downy birch and sweet plum have died. Replacements will be planted when conditions allow.
Work Parties: Andy Denker
We are very fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers. They work on the designated second Saturday in each month and in smaller groups on an ad hoc basis. Activities include cutting back dogwood, path/border clearance, hedge laying, coppicing, planting wild flower bulbs and plug plants, sowing wild flower seeds, removing ragwort, Himalayan balsam and litter picking. The total volunteer hours is 784 (as of early November so will increase).
Wild Flowers: Gwen Mountain
In total 126 types of wild flowers have been recorded. This is a slight decline in the number of flower species compared with precious years, probably due to the summer heat and drought. Cowslips flourished in April and meadow sweet grew in profusion in Hall Field. The mild, wet October encouraged some species to bloom for a second time.
Lastly, in the autumn we got some help in our planned hedge laying between Bateman and Gibson’s Fields as a local farmer brought his tractor to prepare the area for us.
If you want to find out more about the Friends of Meadow Park visit the village website or our Facebook page. You can pick up a membership form from the library, Parish Office or Mel’s greengrocery. Membership per year costs £3 for an individual or £5 for a household. Becoming a Friend of Meadow Park does not require you to take part in the work groups. The membership fees are used to buy tools and equipment to enable the work groups to maintain the park.