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Friday, March 25, 2016

Underway Meade Jan - Mar 2016

If 2015 was a busy year, then the first quarter of 2016 was even more so, but it was also tinged with sadness with the death of one of the earliest Trustees for the Meade, Gerry Sayers. We will be commemorating his contribution to the Trust in particular and to the parish in general, by placing a memorial bench in the Meade. A collection will be arranged for anyone who wishes to contribute - details will be on the village noticeboard.

Good news, received just before the end of last year, was that we had been successful in our bid for a grant of £4,000 from the Somerset County Council's Health and Well Being Fund due to support from Nigel Pearson, our County Councillor. The grant was kindly topped up by the Parish Council, Gala Committee and local donations and has been used to improve the access to the Meade with new gates and paths. Work started at the end of February and was completed in just over a week, thanks to B.E Powell and Sons contractors. It means that you can now get in and out of the Meade along the road at both ends and in the middle by the dog waste bin, so there’s no need to walk along the main road to the Clayhanger turning or to make a detour to the bin. It inevitably looks a bit raw at the moment, and we have quite a bit of tidying up and fine tuning yet to do, but it’s all usable and we are pleased to report that more people than ever are using the Meade as a result and we have received some very positive feedback.

Fencing before path work began

Cutting through the new access point
Digger on site

New path taking shape

Work continues

New access point and path

In the middle of February we held a hedge laying training day, paid for by the Blackdown Hills AONB Natural Futures project.Two experts from the Blackdown Hills Hedge Association came and showed 4 of the Meade volunteers and 4 others how to lay a hedge in the Devon style and as a result, we not only got trained, but also a good stretch of one of our hedges was laid free of charge!
George and Richard our trainers
Volunteers gathering for the hedge laying training day
Working hard
Part of the finished hedge
Some of the brushwood that was cut down will be used for dead hedging along one section of the recently fenced dog-free picnic area. The rest will be chipped, once we have arranged for the loan of a chipper, and then spread on the woodland path to improve the surface.

We had a lot of rain in January / February and this caused some flooding which we are trying to deal with by laying some pipes to re-direct run off, should it happen again.

Flooding due to heavy rainfall and run off

Position where pipes are being laid

Pipe laying

Other jobs that have taken place include the annual hedge cut along the road edge. The contractor, Ian Farmer, has started to shape the hedge for us with a sloping top, which is more suitable for nesting birds as it encourages the rain to run off and it will also help it thicken up in future years.

Hedge cutting 
Lastly, you may have noticed some of us clearing stones from the bare earth patch alongside the pond. This is being done prior to bringing a rotavator on site (with thanks to the Sunday School Wood team for its loan) to prepare the ground for sowing wild flower seeds. Hopefully some of the children from Combe School will come down in April to help us sow the seeds - watch the noticeboards for details.

Wildflower patch

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