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Jary’s Meadow (Walsham Fen)

Size:                              1ha

Parish:                          South Walsham.

Owned By:                    Blofield & District Conservation                                   

Access & Parking:         Private.  Access by prior arrangement or during BADCOG work-parties.  Limited parking available at South end of bridleway at Hemblington entailing an enjoyable 1.5km walk to site.  Parking is very restricted at the North end of the bridleway.  A mown path network gives good access to most of the site.

Underfoot:                  Generally good, with some wet areas to the North bordering Walsham Fen.

Habitats:                    Mainly lowland grass meadow, scrub and mature hedge on Southern boundary.

Main conservation interest:           Contrast between dry meadow upland and fen.

Conservation status:   None.

Group.                       Acquired in 2005.

Management:             Managed by BADCOG.  Conservation management of site commenced 2005.

Location:    Jary’s Meadow borders Walsham Fen to the north (see page 34) and is adjacent to the Panxworth to Hemblington green lane running North/South.

Jary’s Meadow was purchased by BADCOG in 2005 from Mrs Pauline Barnett with financial assistance from a National Lottery grant.  The meadow is named after Major William Jary, a local benefactor and landowner who once lived in South Walsham Hall and died in 1920.  His family had long owned and farmed a sizable estate in the area but the estate was probably purchased by the CC shortly after his death.  We are very grateful to Mrs Barnett for allowing us to purchase the meadow and also to the National Lottery for the grant.

The site consists predominantly of rough grassland, with a well established hedge on top of a bank on the south side.  From the bank, the ground slopes to the north where its boundary meets Walsham Fen, an area consistently wet and boggy.  The western edge of the site borders Walsham Wood, a privately owned ancient woodland, and on the eastern edge is a green lane which runs from Hemblington to Panxworth.

The site offers a diverse range of habitats, from rough grass meadow, a north facing shady bank, a permanent wet area, thick shrub areas, mature trees and a well established hedge on three sides.

Management of the site commenced in December 2005, with one of the main objectives being the clearance of scrub from the neglected north facing bank, with the view to encourage a once thriving primrose population (see picture opposite).  This was consequently completed in early 2006, along with the planting of 60 native trees in the north east corner of the site with help from local primary school children.  Encroaching blackthorn and brambles have been cleared and will present a constant problem on the site and this will have to be continuously managed.  Small manageable areas of rough grassland have been cut and cleared to enable the monitoring of the flora and a circular path network has been established.  To restrict access from Walsham Fen to the north (a Local Nature Reserve), a gate has been installed.

Management objectives of the site include; the encouragement of a species-rich meadow, with the possibility of introducing some grasses and wildflowers; preventing the encroachment of thick scrub and brambles into the grassland areas; limited planting of native shrubs and trees in designated areas (see below) and maintaining a diverse habitat for wildlife.  A circular path network will be maintained, to prevent visitors damaging managed areas or disturbing wildlife.

BADCOG has had limited access to the site prior to 2005 resulting in limited knowledge of species found on the site.  However, due to its proximity to Walsham Fen to the north, we can expect to find the same fauna as on that site.  There currently is an on-going study of both the fauna and flora found on the site.

Planting on meadow since 2005:  60 trees and shrubs planted in 2006, 2 X black popular planted in 2010 and 20 shrubs and seven English apply trees (2 x Green Roland, 2 x Admiral, a Vicar of Beighton, a Happisburgh and a Leeders perfection) planted in 2012.

When to visit:     This meadow has all year round interest, but spring is a good time to see the primroses.

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