By Harry Mottram: In just a few weeks time the not-for-profit Community Interest Company (FLHF) of Lyncombe Hill Fields will be three years old. The five narrow and sloping fields by Beechen Hill School and Alexandra Park have been transformed by a large group of volunteers from a mix of overgrown pasture land into a nature reserve and public greenspace come park.
The PLHF was launched at a public meeting October 2020, with a core of 47 locals plus more than 100 registering their support to create a group who would manage the fields owned by Bath and North East Somerset Council. The council owned the land after buying it before World War 2 and despite talk of building homes on the steep slopes it was rented to tenants to graze livestock – mainly horses. The land dates back in time when there was a dairy farm on the hill (some parts of the old buildings are still to be seen but are no longer safe to use).
The trio of Maurice Tennenhaus, Anita Breeze and Chris Kinchin-Smith are unpaid directors of the FLHF while the public interest company is sponsored by the Widcombe Association, Greenway Lane Social Committee, Greenway Lane Area Residents’ Forum and Bear Flat Residents’ Association, with support also from the Friends of Alexandra Park and also from Bathscape. The success of the community enterprise is seen by many as a way forward for other green spaces in the city where residents would like to create a similar success story for society.
This month working in collaboration with More Trees BANES, the volunteers have constructed a covered nursery to bring on saplings of natives trees grown from seeds gathered locally last autumn. The tiny beech, blackthorn, crab apple, field maple, hawthorn, hazel, oak, spindle and whitebeam will be distributed to their final planting sites in the New Year.
If you take a walk to the fields these are a few things to look out for: Meadow brown and ringlet butterflies in the grass, plus butterflies on the purple buddleia; Bats swooping overhead on warm still evenings; Bramble flowers visited by numerous types of insect; Robins starting to sing again; Purple flowers of black knapweed, buddleia and hemp agrimony; Hoverflies visiting the white trumpet bindweed flowers; Seeds, nuts and berries fattening and ripening feeding birds and mammals; Grasshoppers loudly chirping in the tall dry grasses
This is news from the group about their tiny forest programme:
Working in collaboration with More Trees More Trees for Bath and north east Somerset, we have constructed a covered nursery to bring on saplings of natives trees grown from seeds gathered locally last autumn. The tiny beech, blackthorn, crab apple, field maple, hawthorn, hazel, oak, spindle and whitebeam will be with us until February 2024, when they will be distributed to their final planting sites. The recent lengthy dry spell couldn’t have come at a worse time. Once we had used up all of the 1000 litres in the intermediate bulk container (IBC), we had to transfer another 500 litres from the IBC by Tiny Forest 1, with a number of hosepipes cobbled together to form a link that must be 200m. Luckily in late June the weather broke, the plants have had a good drink and the IBC is about half full. Another IBC has been delivered, so a good spell of wet weather should put us in a better position next summer.
New Information Displays for the Fields have appeared with artwork by FLHF volunteer and graphic designer Wayne McMaster, we have enhanced the information displays in the Fields. The ‘Welcome’ maps at each of the gates have been replaced by double-size (A2) versions.These show the location of each of the three Tiny Forests (TFs). Individual information signs (A3 size, with a description written by Maurice) have been produced for each of the Tiny Forests.
If you’d like to support the work in the fields your donations are very welcome. Please do donate via Localgiving on our website friendsoflyncombehillfields.co.uk
No previous experience is required, with meetings on Sundays 10:00-12:00, and in the raking season in July through to August on Wednesday evenings from 19.00 to 20.30. If you or any family or friends are interested in getting involved, email email@example.com
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