The brief interlude in the very wet weather was just enough for the riverside ground to dry out to carry out projects that require lots of movement with heavy machinery. The bat willows are down and dealt with as required and the cattle truck access work on Freemen’s Great Common is now in place ready for the end of the season. In future come rain or shine the cattle pound access will make the removal of livestock at the end of the grazing season a much simpler process. No longer will it be necessary to erect gates to protect the Mill hotel windows and temporarily removal of the picnic benches that are now located along the front of the building. Footpath users will no longer have to wait five minutes while reluctant stock is loaded round a ninety degree angle and up a steep ramp on to the lorry and the footpath itself will now remain cowpat free. The hard turning area and track to the pound may seem out of place at present but it will very soon weather down and just like everything else that the charity has done to improve the working riverside it will be soonforgotten and the complaints will wither away on the wind. Best of all, the cattle will be able to trot up a straight and gentle incline to the lorry. This work was paid for by an ‘Awards for All’ grant for which the Sudbury Common Lands Charity is most grateful.
End of season tasks are now well under way with all the grasslands receiving their autumn cut and clear. This ensures that there is no nutrient build-up in the soil to encourage aggressive plants to dominate. In this way a wider range of species have a chance to flourish which in turn provide more diversity. Those coming out on guided walks next year can, therefore, look forward to the glorious sight of increasing numbers of orchids and other interesting plants set in a beautiful landscape that is the Sudbury riverside.
As the nights draw in and the days grow cooler grass growth reduces rapidly and the end of yet another grazing season is almost upon us. Many of those who would prefer not to see cattle on the riverside pastures perhaps do not realise that they are very much the key to the maintenance of the riverside. They keep the land as open grassland rather than allowing it to develop through to scrub. Whilst this management has been going on for centuries it is increasingly challenging to maintain the agricultural traditions of centuries.
Great Cornard Women’s Institute will be the latest organisation to be included on the “donations board” at the floodgates following their choice of the Sudbury Common Lands Charity as their good cause for 2012. The tremendous sum of £300.00 was passed to the charity and this money will go towards much needed new uniform tops for the staff.