As was stressed last month, fresh water is not an unlimited resource though essential to life. The recent drought has shown how lack of rain severely affects animals and vegetation and puts domestic supplies at risk – hosepipe bans are a warning sign.
Parched grass is another indicator and the patterns which emerge in some fields are of interest to archaeologists as they reveal structures beneath the surface which may date back many hundreds of years: a reminder to us that we inherit the endeavours of previous generations. Not only those that are now hidden beneath the ground – the landscape we see has mainly been shaped by our predecessors, particularly farmers. Some developments can be beneficial, others not so. The presence of hedges in the countryside was rare until the 17th century, but have since proved very helpful to farmers and some wildlife. Hence where hedges have been removed, many are now being replaced, as at Dyke Farm. In more recent times it has been realised that ploughing, used for thousands of years, releases much carbon into the atmosphere, so shallow methods of cultivation are being introduced. Through research, much more is known about the likely effects of different farming methods, helping us to know how to conserve and care better for the environment, and to redress past errors – perhaps enabling us to pass on to our successors an improved countryside.
We met on 6th August again at Dyke Farm, where we cut and raked hay in the meadows, using the techniques used in bygone times. The next work party is due to meet on 3rd September at 10.00am by the bridge in Riverside Walk in Love Lane to clear the banks and stream to Fryern Dell. It’s another chance for those interested to join us! Good company and a coffee break as usual. Gardening clothes suggested, other equipment provided. For information about this and our other activities, or on becoming a member (no subscription is required, donations welcome) please get in touch with Chairman Mick Denness on 01903 745971 or see our website https://www.storringtonconservation.org.uk