Stort Valley Project Summary
A series of linked projects on the Town Park Marsh Local Wildlife Site (LoWS) (Town Park, Stage IV) form a long term vision for the improvement of this site. It is hoped that once complete the site will be as valuable for wildlife as the adjoining areas of the Harlow Marsh Local Nature Reserve (LNR), and that the site can also achieve LNR status and protection.
- Re-coppice and pollard willows along ditches - these trees have had little maintenance for many years.
Trees along 3 ditches completed by Kier Harlow 2008-2011. Coppicing of remaining ditch by volunteers from GreenTeam and HCV nearly complete winter 2011-12.
- Clear debris and vegetation for water course through project area.
Phase 1 - Stort Valley Meadows - Access for All
- Reinstatement of footpath network
- Reroute footpath through "orchid" meadow to avoid boggy area to be made into conservation area with open water in phase 2 with new footbridge
- Two boardwalk sections to route path across pools on Honeymead Marsh created in Phase 2
- Bring paths and existing bridges to equal opportunities (DDA) standard
- Interpretation boards
- Picnic area with shrub tree species (originally in phase 3).
Funded by Big Lottery Fund.
Delivery phase completed October 2012. Sustainability phase until September 2013.
Phase 2 - Stort Valley Meadows - wildife habitat improvements
- Expansion reed bed by side of watercourse to increase area of this threatened priority habitat
- Creation of area of permanent shallow open water in areas that are currently flooded 6 months of the year
- New Pools on Honeymead Marsh
- Widening of vehicle access bridge to "orchid" meadow to allow baler on site to collect arisings from annual mowing.
Funded by Veolia (Landfill Tax funds) and Stansted Airport Community Trust.
Initial works completed March 2013. Completed autumn 2013.
Phase3 - Wild Flower Meadow Restoration
- Preparation and reseeding with wild flower/grass mix on an area with previously very limited range of species.
- Intepretation board
- Grass paths through meadow
- Maintenance by annual cut and collection of arisings (as done for "orchid" meadow)
Funded by Tesco Bags of Help.
Main works March–Sept 2017. Interpretation board installed May 2018.
Construction of a "Wetlands Discovery Centre" as an educational and visitor facility.
- public viewing area
- dipping platform
- kingfisher bank
- base for volunteers managing the site
- as near zero carbon in construction and use as possible.
Long term vision dependent on finding suitable location and funding for capital and ongoing costs.