Bride’s Mound and the Friend’s Fields
|A.||Move the water trough away from the entrance to the ridge and fill in existing cattle damage with hard core.|
|B.||Replant the gaps in the hedges, in accordance with the ESA requirements.|
|C.||Plant new willows for later pollarding along south boundary of triangular field.|
|D.||Plant a new grove of trees, subject to ESA species approval, with a small internal clearing. Two options for its location, on the north boundary, are currently being considered.|
|E.||Plant a row of trees along the west side of the track approaching from the south, subject to ESA species approval|
|F.||Replace the two metal farm gates on this track with traditional wooden gates, each with an adjacent kissing gate suitable for wheelchair access|
|G.||Build a path suitable for wheelchairs, commencing at the first gate and proceeding onto the ridge, on the west side of the track.|
|H.||Erect a three-sided interpretive board, inside the second gate, containing information on the significance of Bride’s Mound, an explanation of the ESA agreements, works carried out and descriptions of the wildlife of the Somerset levels and moors.|
|J.||A proposal for a new orchard, near the tip of the ridge (J), has been put forward.|
|X.||Create a pond for wildlife.|
May 2008 saw the instalment of our first gate (feature F on the map); with disabled access kissing gate, giving us the opportunity for an opening ceremony with a speech from Stephanie Moreland and a beautiful poem written for us and recited by one of our excellent Bards of Glastonbury, Bryan Holder.
Land Management update 2009
this year (2009) has seen great progress.
Our second gate in March. (feature F on map)
Followed by the pollard planting along the southern boundary (feature C on map) with many thanks to the expertise of Steve Best.
And lastly, for now, the planting of the avenue of alternate wild cherry and rowan trees along the entrance track (feature E on map). For these we have to thank the Woodland Trust for a grant of £100.00 and Somerset Wildlife Trust for sponsoring us for that grant; Glastonbury Conservation Society for spiral tree guards; donations of wood for the cross pieces for the deer protection from various individuals in the town and other donations such as a bucket of nails; and many thanks to our volunteers for their time.
To some these trees may seem quite a distance from the edge of the track but this is to leave room for the proposed path for disabled access (feature G on map) that we continue to seek grants for and is also the reason for incorporating disabled access kissing gates into our new gates. The deer protection around each tree looks a little severe but we have already had a few donations of chicken wire that has enabled us to replace a lot of the wooden slats on some of the trees and they look a lot lighter. To buy chicken wire for all of them would cost approximately £250.00. When the trees are bigger we can replace these with more open tree guards utilising the stakes and wire netting that are already in place.
A circle of birch is still planned (feature D on map) but unfortunately whilst planting the rowan and wild cherry the birch were in pots wired to the fence for safe keeping but were stolen over night. We have the stakes for deer protection for 8 but would like to plant a further 11 to make a circle of 19 so will still be looking to raise funds for this project. Cost per tree with deer protection without donations of wood etc; £30.00
We look forward to creating a wildlife pond (feature X on map) and hopefully by 2012 will have the hedge along the ridge restored (feature B on map). This will involve gap planting and hedge laying with sheep fencing either side (estimated inclusive cost £2,500.00)
We are still working towards sorting problems with our water supply. Ross Code has agreed to us taking the water from his units close by and we now have a water meter donated, along with some blue water pipe but will need quite a bit more pipe; and we have the offer of having the meter installed for free but will still need to establish whether the trench can be dug by hand or will need to be done by machine which will be another expense, together with other items necessary for the plumbing in and the remainder of the blue piping. Awaiting an estimate. At a guess about £300.00
Volunteering is mostly needed over the months of May, June and July. Over the summer of 2005 we tackled Himalayan Balsam in a rhyme, the summer of 2006 was mostly scything thistles and rape and last year supervised the clearance of bramble from the mound but these are all jobs that are needed each year so volunteers are much appreciated. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Miranda.
Description of the Fields
The Friends of Bride’s Mound own three fields within the Somerset Levels and Moors Environmentally Sensitive Area (lowland grazing marsh). This is an area of predominantly lowland, wet grassland in the flood plain of eight rivers, the largest in England, laying within the 10m contour above sea level that was once part of the Seven estuary and within the Brue valley Prime Biodiversity Area. Here, where the rivers flow down to moor land level, the landscape has been created by elevated sea defences and river banks, wide drains and a crisscrossing of wet rhymes and ditches in chiefly Riverine clay soils.
The fields are located at grid reference ST4838, field numbers 2027 (13.26 acres), 2300 (8.08acres) and 4010 (2.93acres), to the West of Glastonbury, abutting the area known as the Beckery. These fields are currently under an ESA agreement. Environmentally Sensitive Area covers less than 7% of farmland (www.britarch.ac.uk) and is defined as parts of the country of particularly high landscape, wildlife or historic value, threatened by changes in farming practices. It is a means to encourage farmers to continue with or adopt farming methods, which help to protect and enhance conservation value and opportunities for public access. Farmers enter into a management agreement at the discretion of DEFRA. They can enter into one of several tiers with increasing levels of payment for increasingly demanding management recommendations.
For example under Annex X of the England Rural Development Programme, a part farm scheme with management options, such as adopted by Somerset Levels and Moors.
Option 1, maintenance of extensive grassland by restrictions on cultivation, under-drainage and the use of inorganic fertilisers and the maintenance of water levels, ditches, gutters, trees and pollard willows along with the conservation of features of historic interest.
2, enhancement of wet grassland by controlling water levels and in addition to the restrictions above there are also restrictions to stocking rates, winter sheep grazing, cultivation, mowing dates and fertiliser use. Farmers sign up to a ten-year management agreement and receive annual payment on each hectare of land submitted according to the tier they have entered into. All payments reflect income forgone and any costs incurred in working to the proscriptions.
St Brides’ fields are under Tier 1 – Permanent grassland and Tier BSS – Buffer strip supplement until 2012.
Proposed Reconstruction of the Sanctuary on Bride’s Mound.
A number of people in Glastonbury have, for a long time, been concerned about the derelict state of Bride’s Mound and felt that a sanctuary should be recreated there. In 1995, spurred on by the threat of development as a part of the Morland’s site, we formed a group called the Friends of Bride’s Mound and approached English Heritage, Mendip District Council, and the Archeological Department of Somerset County Council with our ideas.
Traditional willow fencing could separate the orchard from the herb garden and sanctuary, and from the nearby sewage works. It is also suggested that the present orchard, on the site of the sewage works, be reclaimed to the mound and included as part of the Scheduled Ancient Monument, since it is integral to the mound. Ideally, at some point in the future, it would be good to move the sewage works to a more appropriate site. Further, that the non-intrusive archeological survey of the ridgefield (the extension of the mound towards the River Brue) be completed, the site of the original spring located and restored, and the whole area incorporated into an archeologically protected area (Scheduled Ancient Monument Protection).