Public urged to avoid sections of muddy meadow


THERE is division between members or the Towcester Watermeadow management committee as they disagree about how it should be used.

David Reed is chairman of the Towcester and District Wildlife Trust which forms part of the committee, alongside members and officers from South Northants Council and members of Towcester Town Council.

Mr Reed said the original management plan for the meadows is being ignored, reducing bio-diverty and making parts of it unwelcoming for members of the public.

The Watermeadows were turned into public park in 2010 as the first phase of the Moat Lane regeneration project and restoration for Bury mount when they were bought from the Easton Neston Estate by SNC and the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation.

In June the Advertiser reported concerns that cattle grazing on the watermeadows were making it unusable by churning up paths and with cows protecting their young.

Mr Reed accused SNC of washing their hands of the 
issue and allowing the watermeadows to be over grazed.

He said: “When the first management plan came out there was a certain element of grazing, but SNC said they improve bio-diversity. But every action they have taken since then only work to diminish bio-diversity.”

Rebecca Breese, SNC’s member for environment, said the Watermeadows have played an important part in agriculture for over 300 years and as they are regularly flooded with nutrients they provide ideal grazing land. She said they will do all they can to encourage diversity and visitors and added: “Our watermeadows are being grazed by cattle from spring to autumn and by the very nature of the terrain, areas will occasionally become muddy.

“This year, by any standard, has been exceptionally wet with areas close to rivers or streams becoming waterlogged and muddy, especially where cattle go down to drink.

“These areas will recover but for now I would recommend people avoid them and keep to the drier parts until they have dried out.”