The Bridgford Street Project and the Southwell Diocese Paddock – a summary for discussion
This extracts and amplifies the references to the Southwell Diocese paddock contained in the project documentation.
Wildlife & Biodiversity
The East Bridgford Wildlife and Biodiversity Group (EBWBG) made a preliminary study of Bridgford Street in 2005 The Church paddock was identified as a potentially valuable wildlife habitat and source of biodiversity with a wide range of grasses and pasture plants. This paddock has already been classified as a SINC (Site of Interest for Nature Conservation); the existing hedgerows and hedgerow trees are also important. A recent walk of the bridleway has shown that the paddock is heavily invaded on both sides of the mown path by bramble and blackthorn. Only small sections of the original pasture remain and unless urgent action is taken this species rich grassland will be lost.
Returning the Paddock to Pasture
This narrow strip of old meadow (see Sanderson’s map of 1833) is much reduced by encroaching nettles and scrub, mainly bramble, blackthorn, elder and rose. It needs clearing back to the hedge line, but the few clearly identifiable patches of grassland should be protected to allow natural regeneration of pasture grasses and wildflowers. The central mown bridleway should be maintained.
Reduction in the amount of scrub may also deprive the rabbits that infest the border of the A697 of much cover.
A longer term management plan is needed to ensure that the scrub is controlled to prevent its return
Returning the bridleway to its original path
The growth of the scrub on the A6097 side has shifted the mown bridleway from the hedge side into the centre of the paddock and so on to softer ground. Clearing the scrub is necessary to return the bridleway to the assumed alignment of the roman route.
Access and security
As it is a bridleway used by riders new horse gates are needed at the Kirk Hill and Brunt’s Lane ends. To permit grazing in the paddock an additional horse gate would be required between the Southwell Diocese paddock and Mr. Hall’s field. At the Brunt’s Lane end a wide access gate would also be required to allow passage of farm machinery. Once the paddock has been cleared, this farm gate would need to be locked to stop unauthorised vehicle entry.
Right of way signage at Brunt’s Lane end should refer to the Roman origin, e.g. “Bridgford Street Bridleway from Roman Margidunum to the Trent.” Ideally, more informative heritage and wildlife signs are also required.
Landowner’s formal agreement
The proposals need to be discussed and agreement reached on the work to be done and on any mutual obligations. Rushcliffe Borough Council requires formal agreement from the owners of the land before starting the project.
It is understood that the tenancy of the paddock is under review. This makes a discussion of improvements opportune.