Village Hall Indaba
A Nature Recovery Network for the Parish
Over two hundred and forty people gathered in the Eynsham Village Hall on the 15th of January 2020 to share ideas about how we can value and enhance our wildlife and rescue the diversity that has been inexorably vanishing from our villages and countryside. Many more people have said they would have been there if they could. To receive more information and join our project, please sign up here.
Brimming with ideas and proposals
The ideas and suggestions were many and varied. They included planting a nut grove in the village, finding Eynsham’s 12 ancient mulberry trees and surveying for bats and invertebrates. Already six acres have been offered in Cassington for wildflower restoration and more in South Leigh. Both villages are following Eynsham’s lead to replicate the project there. Not only that, the scouts and the guides are taking up the project, and Bartholomew School is adopting it in answer to the students’ climate change concerns. Even the primary schools in the locality are getting involved. It’s a spectacular joining of forces all round!
Nature Recovery is for all ages.
Scruffy is good!
For many people, the starting point is their own back garden – leaving ‘scruffy’ spaces for insects and animals, planting native trees and fruit trees to support insets and birds, wildflower patches to encourage pollinating insects and butterflies, and small ponds which provide habitats for many species. And of course, taking good care to let our ivy flourish!
What the gathering also revealed is that we have a wealth of knowledge in Eynsham – over 30 people with significant experience who are prepared to offer support to those of us who need a helping hand.
It is a wonderful illustration of the fact that, collectively, we can expand what each is doing to make the natural whole of Eynsham greater than our individual parts. The Parish Council and St Leonard’s Church are interested in mowing less and creating some wilder spaces. There is talk of introducing wildflowers into the churchyard, which in their quietude would make them havens for wildlife. There were proposals to survey the verges to discover what wildflowers might have survived there and begin restoring the species-poor sections.
Know our nature to protect it
The fact that over 70 people signed up to do surveys - wildflowers, bird, butterflies, bats, fungi, streams, ponds, hedges and trees - highlights the fact that we need to know what we’ve got in order to protect it. It is also a recognition of the fact that baseline surveys are important for monitoring the return of our wildlife and for providing evidence for whoever needs it, to protect our village wildlife in the future. Equally important, is the understanding that surveys are vital to preparing for successful conservation and restoration. The maxim, 'If you fail to prepare, be prepared to fail' applies particularly in planting wildflower areas, which are technically the most difficult to restore.
Preserving our natural history
Sue Chapman brought to the launch pictures of amazing wildflowers along Chilbridge. The Lokens talked of the trees they'd planted along Oxford Road in the 1960s. Rupert Boulting is looking for the 12 ancient mulberries that are known to exist in Eynsham. Collecting all this historical knowledge is key to the project. Please share anything you might know on our nature map of Eynsham that we will hang in the Village Hall.