Long Ham Meadows
Until now, Long Ham has been intensively managed. The charity is developing river and water meadow restoration plans that will allow nature to take the lead on the site. This will provide a significant and exciting new space for wildlife, allowing species-poor agriculturally-improved grassland to develop into a rich and thriving mix of wet woodland and grassland and damp scrub. It will create opportunities to bring back species like Turtle Dove and White Storks and provide crucial habitats for new arrivals like Night Herons.
Despite being small, the site is already used by a host of wildlife including Otters, Beavers, Red Kite, Kingfishers and Dippers. In the future the site will benefit many of the UK’s critically endangered species including Brown Trout, Millers Thumb, Otter, Water Vole, Brown Hare, Numerous bat species, Grass Snake, Common Toad, Skylark, Common Cuckoo, House sparrow, Tree Sparrow and Lapwing and many invertebrates.
Long Ham will connect more of the River Frome with river and wetland restoration projects upstream to the headwaters of the river and down stream towards the town of Frome.
After securing ownership of the site the charity has been undertaking immediate and urgent works including:
- Species, river, soil and hydrological surveys
- Mapping of the site and its habitat connectivity within the wider Forest of Selwood area
- Installation of fencing to protect the public right of way from grazing animals, limit dog access to the site to enable the beginning of the grassland recovery and protect the river banks from livestock encroachment.
One of the most exciting things about Long Ham is its location on the edge of Witham Friary. This presents a unique opportunity to involve the community at every stage of the project, from consultations on future plans, to enlisting local volunteers to help achieve the nature restoration vision.
The charity is now fundraising to repay the loan and begin significant nature restoration works on this site. The costs of the land purchase loan and initial works outlined above amount to £190,000. To date the charity has secured £80,000 from public and private sources. £110,000 is how much we still need to find.