On Sunday 3 June 2018, LBCV will be doing invasive species and sward management on Walthamstow Marshes(SSSI). We will be removing Greek Dock Rumex cristatus from certain areas of the Lammas Meadow on South Marsh.
Conservation Task Details
Walthamstow Marsh is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI, pronounced “triple S, I”) declared under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. Covering 55.4 Hectares (136.9 acres), it is part of a Green Flag Awarded Nature Reserve that also includes Coppermill Fields and Leyton Marsh. This Nature Reserve is a remnant of London’s once widespread river valley grasslands and is especially important for its plant and insect life containing a national rarity in creeping marshwort along with long-stalked orache, black poplar, brookweed, penny-royal, water vole, bats; soldier-flies, snail-killing flies, orthoptera, reed bunting, linnet and song thrush. The marshes are former Lammas lands, in that commoners had rights to graze there from 12 August to 6 April.
The aim of the task is to help keep the Marshes free from invasive species.
Greek Dock is a native of S.E. Europe and S.W. Asia, in the UK it was reportedly known from the River Rhymney (Mons.) c. 1920; it still thrives there today. It was recorded from the Thames at Kew Bridge in 1938 (Surrey) and spread rapidly in S.E. England, being recorded from Hadleigh Marshes (N. Essex) in 1949 and the Rivers Medway and Swale (E. & W. Kent) by 1982. In N. Somerset it was first recorded in 1942 but it does not seem to be spreading there to the same extent.
How is it invasive ? It is a tall non-native hardy perennial that forms clumps, we will be removing these clumps from the open areas of the meadow.
Why remove ? Walthamstow Marshes are under Higher Level Stewardship in that they are being grazed by traditional bred cattle, Belted Galloways, we are removing the Greek dock before it has time to set seed.
The task is being done during the nesting season so the task will be conducted to cause as little disturbance to local nesting populations of sedge warblers, reed buntings, meadow pipits and whitethroats. As always when working on the marshes we may have the chance to see a kestrel hunting, a buzzard passing overhead and the swifts are back doing their aerobatics.
Everybody is welcome to volunteer with LBCV. No experience is required. LBCV will provide tools, training, gloves, tea, coffee and biscuits.
Please bring some lunch. Please wear sturdy footwear and appropriate clothing for the work and weather. The task involves working low to the ground in thick grass. We can provide wellingtons in the morning but you must return them to the Waterworks Centre, after the task. So please arrive in plenty of time to select your pair.
Please arrive from 9:30am – 10am at the Waterworks Centre Lammas Road, off Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, London E10 7QT, for a 10am departure to the tools storage area. The meeting place is the former golf centre across from the former Greyhound Public House on Lea Bridge Road. Look for a person in a black LBCV t-shirt. We will leave the tools container at 10:15am for a walk to the task site.
Please lock bicycles to the stands in front of the Waterworks Centre. There is ample free car parking there too. Dogs are not allowed on the Nature Reserve so please do not cross the bridge with dogs or ride bicycles in the nature reserve. Dogs are welcome on some tasks, including this one, we just request that their owners wait with the LBCV catering team at the Waterworks Centre, while the tools are prepared. If you think we are being draconian, please read this article http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6978272.stm
We should be finished by 3:30pm.
Doing a conservation task with LBCV is great way to meet new people, learn new skills, use old skills, be more active, get closer to nature, make a difference and have some fun with like-minded people.