- Countrycare and EWT announce the award
A flag-raising ceremony took place in November attended by members of Epping Forest District Council, Essex Wildlife Trust (EWT), the Grange Farm Centre Trust (GFCT) and Roding Valley volunteer group.
The group was welcomed by Abigail Oldham, Countryside Manager, Countrycare. Then Patrick Bailly, EWT Warden of the Reserve, explained the importance of the Reserve for nature, wildlife, recreation and education.
The Reserve, in Loughton, is the largest area of traditional river-valley landscape left in Essex. Bounded by thick hedgerows, the herb-rich meadows, marsh and scrub woodland follow the meanders of the River Roding for a mile-and-a-half. More than 200 species of wildflowers thrive in the meadows.
The plant assemblage is so rare that the Reserve was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1986.
- Countrycare, EWT and GFCT raise the flag together
Lush hedgerows and veteran trees attract many species of bird, such as woodpeckers and Sparrowhawk. The ponds, river and fen attract numerous dragonflies and birds, such as Kingfisher, Snipe and Reed Bunting.
The Reserve is owned by the District Council and the Grange Farm Centre Trust and managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust.
The Green Flag recognises UK green spaces that are well-managed, sustainable, of conservation and heritage value and of high quality. The Reserve was judged on a searing hot day in July when Patrick Bailly lead a guided tour of the site, impressing the judge with his management methods.
- And the flag is up!
After the volunteers were thanked for their contribution to making the Reserve the beautiful place it is today, John Hall, EWT’s Chief Executive, Alex Pelican, Grange Farm Centre Trust and Abigail Oldham, together raised the flag.
Refreshments were served in a marquee on one of the Reserve’s meadows where an exhibition about Countrycare and the Roding Valley Meadows was displayed.
Read more about Roding Valley Meadows.
Interested in volunteering? Volunteer with Countrycare.
Read more about the Essex Wildlife Trust.