Volunteers working to protect wetland site

A council is working with conservation volunteers to help protect a rare remnant of precious floodplain meadow.

Rycote Meadow, bordered by the Cuttle Brook on its eastern side and by Oxford Road on the south, is home to a rich variety of plant species and the animals that depend upon them.

A number of conservationists and conservation bodies such as the River Thame Conservation Trust, Wild Oxfordshire, the Cuttle Brook Local Nature Reserve and the RSPB have commented on the importance of the site.

Thame Town Council has been working with Thame Green Living and Cuttle Brook Conservation Volunteers to help protect the site for the future.

Initial work has included enhancement of an important area of hedging along the western side of the meadow to provide even more protection for wildlife – birds and the invertebrates on which they feed principally – interspersed with trees of a modest size to contribute more habitat and variety.

The hedging and trees are all native species indigenous to Oxfordshire.

Plans in the next two years are to enhance further the site’s existing flora, provide a richer aquatic habitat and create a pedestrian path from the Thame Meadows estate to the Oxford Road.

This would enable residents to enjoy a tranquil area and provide wildlife protection.

The next phase of activity is likely to start this month.

In a statement, the council said: ‘Please be assured that the work being delivered is part of a conservation project and not a building project.’

The work includes:
* A new wetland scrape which will be created within the meadow to maintain a more aquatic nature conducive to smaller creatures and plants. This is not a pond as such and will not directly link to the Cuttle Brook itself. This part of the work will be carried out by Cuttle Brook Conservation Volunteers.
* Construction of a footpath to give a new public access from Oxford Road to the rear of the site. This will be made ready to link to the Thame Meadows Estate and footpath access to the River Thame beyond.

The work is supported by Trust for Oxfordshire Environment, with advice from the River Thame Conservation Trust and Wild Oxfordshire.