2019 SNCI Annual Meadow Cut Undertaken

Having rescued the meadow at Pond Lye SNCI from the blackthorn and bramble growth that had virtually destroyed it, we now have the on-going responsibility to maintain it in good condition to encourage back the previous distinctive flora species that earned the site status it holds. This is a massive task for our volunteers with a site so large and takes us a long time to complete. The cut took place in August initially by volunteers with scythes and brush cutters as the anthill punctuated terrain made other methods of cutting difficult.


Volunteers tackle meadow edges and anthill terrain with scythes & brush cutters.


All cut areas are raked and the hay stacked in piles.


Scything between anthills is extremely difficult.

The volunteers worked extremely hard in the large area they covered and we eventually reached a point where we were able to request help from one of our volunteers with a tractor and cutter to tackle the flatter main area of the  meadow which was less affected by the anthills.


The arrival of our volunteer tractor driver with his cutter was really welcome.


The amount of ground he was able to cover in a short time relieved us of months of work to complete the task by hand.

The progress he made with this was phenomenal and within two weeks the work was completed leaving only the raking up and disposal of the hay and the cutting of the tree lined borders the tractor was unable to reach.


The raking of the resulting hay is tackled as quickly as possible to ensure it doesn’t decompose and enrich the meadow soil to the detriment of current flora species.


It is a task that is often hard work but is made easier with many hands to help.


 Cuttings are heaped into piles and then disposed of on completion.

The borders have now been completed by our brush cutting and scythe operators but the final tidying of the site and hay collection is proving a tediously long job for the volunteers as we are being frustrated by the continuous wet weather over this recent period. We are having to grab every brief dry opportunity and try to marry it with the differing availability days of our volunteers. We are desperately trying to recruit more help to allow us to complete it and move on to the seasonal demands of our many other activities. If anyone is able to help please contact us on our website contact link. Any additional help will be extremely welcome.

Volunteer Historian Required To Aid The River Ouse Project

In our capacity as a Sussex nature conservation group some members of The Woodland, Flora & Fauna Group support other similar environmental initiatives. One of these is the River Ouse Project. The organisers of the project need a volunteer to fill a special role and have asked if we can assist them by advertising the vacancy which is described below:-

Volunteer Oral Historian wanted for local project in the River Ouse area.

The River Ouse Project is looking for a volunteer to carry out oral history interviews with local farmers. We have appropriate recording equipment. We will provide a series of leading questions to ask the farmer, but we are looking for someone able to draw the conversation out and get the farmer talking. Useful information often arises outside the set questions. We have a small amount of money to cover travel costs, but no on-going funding.

We don’t require a verbatim transcription of the conversation, but would require a summary of the key points and the whole interview would need to be archived. The oral historian would attend Project Team meetings: currently 10am-12noon four mornings a year in Lindfield.

The River Ouse Project combines botanical surveys of meadows in the upper reaches of the River Ouse with historical land-use research. Documents such as the Tithe Award and Dudley Stamp’s Land Use Survey tell us how the meadow was managed in the mid 1800s and 1930s. By interviewing appropriate farmers we can trace the history into the post war period as well as learning more about how the meadow is currently being managed. Please see our website for more information:

<http://www.sussex.ac.uk/riverouse >  If you are interested please email Margaret Pilkington: m.c.pilkington@sussex.ac.uk