Community support

Funding level: Up to £1,000

Description

Tice's Meadow is the best place to watch birds in Surrey and one of the friendliest and most welcoming nature reserves in the country.

It's a bold statement, but one that we proudly feel best sums up our nature reserve.

Tice's Meadow is a newly developed nature reserve on the site of the former Farnham Quarry, located between Badshot Lea and Tongham in Surrey. The habitats on site consist of a mosaic of open water, gravel islands and scrapes, reed beds, scrub, woodland, ephemeral ponds and wet and dry grassland.

Over 1,100 species have been recorded on site, including an impressive 191 species of bird. The site is home to a number of endangered and threatened species, and supports regionally important breeding populations of red and amber listed birds.

The site is owned by Hanson and managed by a committee consisting of Hanson, the Tice's Meadow Bird Group, Surrey County Council and the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership.

We are the Tice's Meadow Bird Group. Initially, an informal group of bird watchers who enjoyed visiting the site purely for bird watching, but quickly realised its potential as a regionally important nature reserve and key community asset. Our group has now expanded to include those with no birding background, with many members of the local community joining to help make a difference.

The Tice's Meadow Bird Group has two key aims:

1. To protect and enhance the nature reserve.
2. To engage with the local community, encourage more people to visit and enjoy the site, and to connect local residents with the nature on their doorstep.

We thrive on being a part of the local community, and rely on the support of our community volunteers. In return we help the local community engage with the nature on their doorstep.

So what are we asking for and what will we do with it? We'd like £1,000 to help save our reed beds.

Reed beds are among the most important habitats for wildlife in the UK. They are listed as a "priority habitat" at both a national and county level.

The small total area of reed bed habitat in the UK, and the critically small population sizes of several key species dependent on them, make reed beds extremely sensitive.

We are lucky to have 2 areas of reed bed on site which support a large and diverse number of species, including breeding Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings and Willow Warblers. Bearded Tits have recently become annual visitors. Small mammals are abundant, providing a food source for the local Kestrels and Barn Owls. Wildfowl and wading birds feed on the wet margins. Roe Deer are regularly found within the less disturbed areas. A variety of butterflies and dragonflies are regularly spotted within, and Noctule and Daubenton’s Bats can be seen feeding above them.

Despite being abundant with animal life, our reed beds are under threat and there is a real chance that we may lose them forever unless action is taken.

The water levels on site are currently at an all time low. The reed beds are under threat from permanently drying out.

A historical lack of appropriate management of the reed beds has lead to willow scrub encroachment, and the reed beds have begun the initial phases of turning into woodland.

The Tice's Meadow Bird Group has not sat by and watched this happen. We hold regular work parties to clear and burn the encroaching willow scrub and continue to lobby the site management committee to explore remedial actions.

With the money from the Aviva Community Fund we would:
- Buy the tools and equipment we need to manage the willow.
- Transplant fresh reed stems to areas closer to the current water level.
- Hire a professional scrub management team to stem bore, and permanently kill, the willow scrub.

So if you'd like to help us save our reed beds, please vote for us. Your support is greatly appreciated and will help us make a difference. Thank you.

Tice's Meadow Bird Group

Location: Badshot Lea

We are proud of our work as we have turned an underused & unloved brownfield site into a regionally important nature reserve & community asset, allowing local residents to connect with the nature on their doorstep.

We are proud to describe Tice's Meadow as "the best bird watching site in Surrey"
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