Epping Forest District Council’s Countryside Management Service Countrycare was presented with 2 Living Landscape Awards at the Essex Wildlife Trust’s AGM on Saturday 23 June, held at Abberton Reservoir Nature Reserve.
The award was presented by Professor Chris Baines, president of the Essex Wildlife Trust, to Countrycare staff Nicola Rogers and Kevin Mason in front of 700 members of the Trust.
The Wildlife Trust for the first time this year is offering a Living Landscapes project award to recognise publicly any organisation, individual, business or group in Essex completing a project within the county. A Living Landscape is a national initiative led by the Wildlife Trusts, which enhances wildlife and creates a landscape which enables species and people to move through a wildlife-rich landscape.
10 awards were made for the year 2011/12 in Essex and Countrycare received 2 of them. Epping Forest District Council was the only council in Essex to receive an award and the only organisation to receive 2 awards.
The award is given taking into account how the project is good for wildlife, good for people and the community and good for the local economy.
Nicola’s project was for green hay strewning on Linders Field Local Nature Reserve in Buckhurst Hill. The technique of green hay strewning is used to enhance the floral diversity of a grassland site that is poor in terms of wildflowers. The grassland in Linders Field was currently poor in terms of wildflowers but the nearby site at Roding Valley Meadows LNR is species rich. The grass at Linders Field was cut and the site scarified to create bare patches. The Roding Valley flower meadow was also cut and on the same day the cuttings were transported to Linders Field and spread over the site so that seeds from the Roding Valley wildflower meadow would germinate at Linders Field.
Kevin’s project involved the work that has been carried out on Weald Common Local Nature Reserve. An enclosed meadow was created by planting hedgerows around the boundary and across the Common. Once the hedgerow plants were tall enough, traditional management of the hedges took place in laying the trees to create a thick hedge, a good habitat for wildlife. The enclosed meadow created a sheltered spot for wildflowers to thrive and the hedgerows provide plenty of habitat for nesting birds.
The judges commented on the Weald Common project saying: “With regards to your application, we would like to congratulate you on your fantastic project, of all the applications yours was the only one that did not have any comments about potential improvements.”