South West Water Volunteers at Wimbleball



Four volunteers from South West Water joined the Wimbleball Conservation Volunteers on 9 August for a day of meadow management.
The first task was to sharpen the Austrian scythes, then observe Countryside and Angling Manager, Alex Forster, do a quick demo to illustrate the correct scything technique. The volunteers were then given a strip of meadow each and had a go at scything.

Part of the task involved raking up the cut grass using hay rakes made on site by the volunteers using ash harvested from trees at Wimbleball. The grass will then be removed from the area to reduce the nutrient level of the meadow which aims to try and ‘undo’ the negative impact of historically improved grassland (adding nitrogen / fertilisers). The result should hopefully see an increase in diversity in the number of plant species in the meadow.
The group managed to scythe quite an impressive area, with many members of the public intrigued by the spectacle of 21st century office workers trying to master this 18th century art form.
The volunteers were rewarded with some cake at lunchtime to replenish their energy, then moved on to the next task: meadow surveys.
Random numbers were generated, plots selected and surveys carried out with the group aiming to identify all the plant species in each quadrat. This data will be collected annually, which should help build a picture of the health of Wimbleball’s meadows and improvements in biodiversity.
Alex and the Wimbleball team were extremely grateful to South West Water for their volunteers’ contribution to the task.
Nancy Cooper from South West Water thanked Alex and the team for arranging ‘such an interesting and enjoyable volunteering day at Wimbleball. It was a great day in good company and gorgeous surroundings.’
Conservation volunteering sessions take place at Wimbleball Lake every Tuesday between 9.45am and 3.00pm. Corporate volunteering days can also be arranged. For further details please contact Alex Forster on 01398 371460.