nenescape logo and heritage lottery logoFunded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this Nenescape project carried out between 2017 and 2019 restored Heron and Goldie meadows back to wetland.

Background to the project

Heron Meadow and Goldie Meadow had long been identified as in need of restoration. Over the years, the existing ‘cross ditches’ dividing Heron Meadow have become heavily silted due to rainfall, impeded drainage and flooding. This has meant that the meadows were often waterlogged in winter but the ditches dried out rapidly in the spring. By reinstating the ditches and creating further scapes and pools on the meadows, the water will stay on the meadows for longer and so attract more birds and wildlife. This project was funded mainly by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the wider Nenescape project and also by the Environment Agency, the Mick George Community Fund and a sizable donation from the family of Terry Hadoke, a former Nene Park Trust Trustee. We worked in partnership with Nenescape, the Environment Agency, The Wildlife Trust, Natural England and Froglife.

viewing platform over looking heron meadow at nene park'Staying wetter for longer’

Keeping water on Heron and Goldie Meadows in the winter will attract waders such as snipe and lapwing and ensuring the meadows stay wetter for longer in the spring and early summer will attract breeding wading birds such as redshank. These conditions will also provide vital feeding for passage waders that are migrating along the Nene Valley flyway on their way to northern breeding grounds.

Initial steps

On 23 July 2018 the RSPB rotary ditcher arrived on site. The RSPB imported this unique machine, the only one of its kind in the UK, from the USA in 2012 with the support of WREN. Operated by specialist contractors R.C Baker Ltd, it was used to create areas of shallow water with scrapes, pools and foot drains. Starting with Heron Meadow, it then moved on to Goldie Meadow soon after. In August a tracked excavator was brought in to restore the deeper cross ditches.

Viewing platforms and interpretation boards

Two viewing platforms were built overlooking Heron Meadow and one overlooking Goldie Meadow so visitors could see both the ongoing works and also the birds and wildlife when they started to arrive. There is information to read about the developing project at these viewing platforms, as well as information on the birds and wildlife to look out for.

When was the work finished?

All work was completed in Autumn 2018, so bring your binoculars along to spot the growing numbers of birds to both Heron Meadow and Goldie Meadow.

Download this PDF for more information on the project.