Wildlife on your doorstep
Despite being just on the edge of the town centre and surrounded by urban development, Pan Mill Meadows is home to a wide range of wildlife.
Though it is a fairly small nature reserve it has a range of different habitats, maintained through careful management by Gift to Nature’s staff, volunteers and contractors.
In the northern (town centre) end of the reserve is an area of Wet Meadow. This meadow had been almost completely lost when Gift to Nature took over the site, but a combination of two major projects and careful ongoing management has seen a large section of meadow restored. This management helps maintain biodiversity on the site and keeps this fragile ecosystem in good condition.
At the southern end of the site you will find a fenced area which has been used for grazing livestock even in recent years. We’re aiming to continue to graze this area occasionally; grazing animals can help maintain diversity in the meadow, by keeping dominant plants in check and allowing less competitive species to thrive.
The woodland is dominated by alder and willow, which thrive in wet and waterlogged soils. Some parts of the woodland are coppiced to allow more light to reach the ground, encouraging greater diversity in plant life.
The River Medina flows along the western edge of the site, and has been heavily modified through the years. In the 1960s and 70s, flood protection works saw large parts of the river straightened and diverted into concrete channels. This left the river rather sterile, leading to a decline in fish and other wildlife. Between 2011 and 2013 Natural Enterprise working with the Environment Agency created a range of enhancements to the riverbed and banks to create new habitats and bring life back to the river.
What can you see
It’s impossible to list everything you might spot at Pan Mill Meadows, the list is just too long! Here are some things you might want to look out for:
- Water vole
- Wild Garlic
- Yellow Iris
- Little egret
- Grey wagtail
- Water mint
- Wasp spider
- Bird’s-foot trefoi
- Red clover
- Dragonflies and damselflies