This has been a very successful year for the meadow flowers. The birdsfoot trefoil, the meadow pea, ladies bedstraw, yellow rattle and fleabane have all increased and the meadow was a sea of yellow. More oxeye daisies have been planted and the knapweed became a haze of purple and attracted large flocks of goldfinches.
Three more common spotted orchids were found and the number of butterflies increased during the warm summer with a new species seen, A marbled white.
By the end of the year the pond was full.
Thanks to generous funding from Naturesave Trust www.naturesave.co.uk/trust the pond restoration has finally started to restore the Keir’s Meadow Wildlife Pond.
Pond Creation and Subsequent Drying Out
In 2008 Keir’s Meadow commissioned Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership to create a wildlife pond as part of the reserve improvements. Natural ponds such as this are a great benefit for wildlife but sadly many of these features have been lost from the wider countryside. The pond provided a home for colourful dragonflies like the blue and green Emperor and whilst the water levels may fluctuate, seasonal ponds are valuable for newts and other amphibians. The pond was originally planted with marginals that like damp conditions, such as purple loosestrife and yellow flag iris.
However, after initial success, the pond has subsequently dried out repeatedly, and to such an extent that it is reverting to dry land. The diagnosis was that an old land drain runs under the pond, and that a natural layer of clay needs to be added to provide a longer term solution so that the pond can retain at least some water year round and support aquatic species.
On August 3rd at The Friends of Blean Church coffee morning, we had a “teddy bears picnic” Children, parents and grandparents had a conducted tour of the Reserve. Seeds of yellow rattle and meadow pea were collected and sown for next year. Squash and biscuits were provided and various games were played on the park
A grey heron flew over the Reserve
Dave Smith took this frosty picture of the pond in February.
On November 28th 2015, during the monthly coffee morning, the promised Heritage tree was planted. The tree, a field maple, was given to the Parish by Kent Heritage Trees. Mali, one of their volunteers, came to help two villagers. Betty Jones, who is in her ninth decade, and Florence Hall , who is in her first decade, used a specially decorated spade and posed for photos with several villagers. Then Mali and the Hall family, including Joshua aged 4, went through to the very wet and muddy Reserve and completed the job
We have been given 105 very small trees to add to the Reserve. On Nov. 8th 2015 they were planted in groups to create areas of scrub that will eliminate the straight lines of the hedging, There is a selection of trees which include hazel, dogwood, rowan, cherry and silver birch.