We are very fortunate to have such a large open space for us all to enjoy, and with the River Stour and wooded areas, the Great Meadow is very special. Maintenance is essential to ensure it remains accessible and safe, and also to encourage a diversity of wild life and plants and trees to flourish.
If you would like to volunteer to help with our Meadow management projects, please contact Ross Van de Zande, and check out the Centre News page and updates on this page for further information on the work we do.
Our next volunteer work day will be Autumn 2021 (date tbc). We meet on the Meadow at 9.30am. Lunchtime refreshments will be available from the Centre Café. Don’t forget to wear appropriate clothing.
Area of Outstanding National Beauty Award (AONB) – 2020
Last year we nominated the KCA for the Robert Erith National Landscape Award for work we have achieved on the Great Meadow over the years. We came very close to winning:
“Your group came very close to winning the award but there was someone whose contribution to the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley was even more outstanding than your amazing achievements. The judges all agreed that you were an incredible community group who had accomplished a great deal over the years for wildlife, people and access.”
We can now use the phrase ‘nominated for an AONB award in 2020’ when talking about our work on the Great Meadow.
Ross Van de Zande
KCA Meadow Manager
Stour Valley Clear Up and Tree Planting Day for the Great Meadow – 28 March 2018
A very successful Great Meadow Clear Up and Tree Planting Day, despite the constant rain! Once again we were joined by the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley Project team of volunteers led by Emma Black, and our own hardy villagers, who were not daunted by the bad weather! Around 200 native hedgerow whips donated by eforests (a carbon offsetting organisation) were planted, the woodland path cleared, rustic fences repaired and built up, and habitat piles created. Thanks also to Lol and Sandra from the Centre Cafe team for super soup and double bacon baps!!!
Stour Valley Clear Up Day for the Great Meadow – 22 February 2017
Emma Black and volunteers from the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley Project joined forces with the KCA and village volunteers to help with a clear up day on the Great Meadow. We tidied and cleared the woodland path that runs along the River Stour through the Great Meadow, and created a low rustic fence to divert areas of the path away from the river. We cleared around previously planted trees and shrubs, and tided the clearings and ditches. Homemade soup, sausage rolls, tea and coffee was provided for all the hardworking volunteers. There were a few downed trees and debris caused by storm Dora the following day, but luckily no damage to our new fences!
Scattered Orchard Project – January 2017
The KCA are pleased to have received six fruit trees from Emma Black, the Scattered Orchard Project organiser for our area. Emma is the Countryside Officer for the DedhamVale AONB and Stour Valley project. Two apple trees (St Edmund’s Russet and Peasgood’s Nonsuch), a crab apple (Golden Gem) and a cherry tree (Stella) have been planted in the clearings alongside the river path on the left of the Great Meadow, where we have previously cleared dead wood and undergrowth and planted a selection of native trees and shrubs – also with the help of Emma and her team. A Pear (Concorde) and a Gage (Denniston’s Superb) have been planted on the boundary of the Community Garden, near the Community Centre.
Please see below further information supplied by Emma about the project:
‘The Scattered Orchard Project involves planting five traditionally grown fruit and nut trees of local origination on publically accessible land in each parish in the Stour Valley.
The aim of this project is to provide an investment in the future of each parish which will enrich the biodiversity of the parish, provide opportunities for future generations of foragers, re-instate traditional fruit trees, in particular the rare Suffolk / Essex varieties and engage with local communities
The Suffolk / Essex borders once had many traditional orchards. Local varieties are now becoming scarce and orchards are disappearing from the landscape being replaced with modern viticulture style of fruit growing which has limited benefit to wildlife. Planting small clumps of traditional fruit and nut in publicly accessible land means local people can benefit from the trees; enjoying seeing the blossom in the spring to eating their fruit / nuts in the autumn. These trees will also provide habitats for a wide variety of wildlife.’
Stour Valley Clear Up Day for the Great Meadow – 25 November 2015
With the help of 30 volunteers (20 from the Stour Valley Project), the Community Association was engaged in a number of projects to improve and maintain our natural environment around The Great Meadow and along the River Stour.
The two big projects were to divert a section of footpath alongside the river to improve safety for those who use it, the other was to create a new walkway from the Meadow through to the River Stour. This section was very dense and overgrown with bramble and fallen trees, but the task was accomplished.
Other aspects that required maintenance included clearing the areas around previously planted trees, which are doing very well, and ditch clearing at the far end to reduce the risk of flooding (just as well with the rain we’ve had so far this winter); also to make sure the footpath along the river was generally tidied up and safe for everyone to use.
We are most grateful to Emma Black and her Stour Valley Project team of volunteers and the local residents and Association members who helped us achieve so much on that day and continue to do so.