During spells of hot weather the riverside draws people like a magnet to enjoy the visually cooling environment where the grass still grows green and the leafy willows cast a welcoming shade for people and cattle alike. Some extend their activities to venturing into the river to swim but this should be done with the utmost care and caution in order to avoid tragedy in the Sudbury Stour’s apparently tranquil and inviting depths.
A number of volunteer rangers have been active during the fine weather which is exactly when a higher profile is needed for the Sudbury Common Lands Charity. Their presence provides a point of reference and volunteers can also check the livestock, thus ensuring that cattle welfare is maintained.
The main season for flowering plants is fast passing but the overall picture is one of continuing improvement. Unlike other wildlife which can be subject to disturbance and go elsewhere plants, provided they are not picked, may slowly multiply. The Sudbury riverside has become rather special in terms of its orchids populations although these are only located where management is specifically tailored to their needs. For example in 1999 there were just eighteen flowering pyramidal orchids on the gentle valley slopes opposite Friars Meadow. This year well over a thousand of these fine orchids flowered and they are currently setting vast quantities of seed that will ensure even greater numbers of plants within the next few years. A similar picture is beginning to emerge with the young colony of common spotted orchids which, though still low in number by comparison, will increase into the hundreds within a few years. Guided walks for groups to see these treasures can be arranged.
The donations board at the Floodgates near the Croft records the names of those generous supporters or their loved ones of the Sudbury Common Lands Charity. The Charity is most fortunate in having received significant donations by those thoughtful enough to consider the longer term future of the management of the Sudbury riverside.
One of the donation board entries is to the family of Dave Coppock who gave his time generously as a hands-on practical volunteer on the Riverside Projects Team. Although in full time work Dave used to set aside his holiday entitlements towards the work party days. It was an extreme shock to his family and friends that he died at the end of a work party session in 2011 having spent the day doing what he most enjoyed; namely carrying out practical work on the Sudbury riverside with fellow enthusiasts.
The apples of his eye, daughters Amanda, Julie and Dawn have decided to raise funds for the charity in his memory by taking part in the ‘Sudbury to the Sea’ event in September. Dave completed the same journey just a few years ago and his daughters would very much appreciate sponsorship from the local community in their canoeing quest. To donate online enter www.sudburycommonlandscharity.org then follow the links via ‘Donations’ and then click on the small blue box on the right of the screen. Then click ‘About our Charity and ‘Amanda Coppock’. The Trustees wish Amanda, Julie and Dawn a very enjoyable and successful trip.