GH Wildlife group
The GHWG aims to improve parts of Henley for wildlife. It works with the Henley-on-Thames Town Council to improve some of the land they own for wildlife. The main areas worked on to date are:
- The wildlife areas on Mill and Marsh Meadows on the banks of the Thames
- The Valley Road chalk bank
- Gillotts Field opposite Gillotts school
- The Greys Road embankment
As is common in areas managed for nature conservation, the aim is to maintain a mosaic of habitats to avoid having stands of vegetation dominated by the more aggressive species. Hence, management largely consists of removing invasive aliens like Himalayan Balsam and knocking back things like nettles, bramble, reeds and pond sedges when they threaten to dominate. Nettles etc. are very good for wildlife but we don’t want them to crowd out other attractive things like the Fritillaries, Ragged Robin and Meadow Buttercup.
We have also maintained a watching brief on other wildlife areas such as Tilebarn Wood and the Holy Trinity churchyard.
We work very closely with Lex Vokes, the Town Council’s Conservation Park Warden. 40% of his time is devoted to nature conservation projects. We are very grateful that he has been recruited. Not many councils are willing to dedicate resources like this to wildlife.
The Henley Wildlife Group was set up in 1993 and it has been managing the nature conservation areas on Mill and Marsh Meadows since it first obtained a licence to do so from the Town Council in September 1995. The main area of interest on the Meadows is the pond area next door to the River & Rowing Museum where there is an attractive array of wetland wildflowers. There are three ponds. The one in the middle was dug in September 1995, the one nearest the railway was dug in February 1996 and the one nearest the stream was dug in August 2004. There is a wildlife trail leaflet designed to encourage everyone to visit the wildlife areas on the Meadows. HWG is now the nature conservation arm of Greener Henley so has been renamed the Greener Henley Wildlife Group.
Work parties take place on Mill and Marsh Meadows on the first Wednesday of the month from 9:30 to 12:30, although occasionally we move them to the chalk bank or Gillotts Field. We meet in the Mill Meadows car park just beyond the entrance to the River & Rowing Museum. Anyone interested in helping to maintain the wildlife areas on the Meadows is welcome. For more information, please contact Sally Rankin, [email protected] , landline 01491 578633 or mobile 07941 207687.
Our sessions are open to everyone. They are a good opportunity to get some fresh air and exercise in pleasant open spaces, whilst doing something useful for the local community. We break for tea, coffee and cake mid-way through the session.