Town & Manor of Hungerford News – April 2019

Hungerford Town & Manor

Habitat and Wildlife Husbandry

The Town & Manor of Hungerford owns and maintains over 400 acres of land in and around Hungerford including Hungerford Common and Freeman’s Marsh and over 5 miles of waterways including the River Kennet, River Shalbourne, and River Dun. 

The trustees of the Town & Manor continue to expand their environmental bio-diversity and habitat management of the estate, now to include preservation of populations of wild bees. 

 

The bee population is declining drastically worldwide so we have installed three bee treehives for wild bees which we’re confidant will be populated within 24 hours of us removing the bungs.

 

There is one on Hungerford Common, one in Pickets Mead Orchard and one in Rootes Meadow.

For further information on the hives, here is the supplier we have used:
https://beekindhives.uk

This continues the policies of the trustees to do whatever they can to improve the habitats of wild life within the estate and around Hungerford.

Since 2000 the trustees have successfully eliminated pollution of the River Dun from years of spillage of polluted water from the canal. Here C&RT have installed bi-weirs to contain water within the canal pounds. Here the River Dun is again gin clear with a clean gravel bottom.

 

In 2013 with considerable assistance from WBC polluted storm water drainage at Eddington was diverted from spilling into the River Kennet SSSI into filter beds and polluted algae infested water in Eddington Lake was contained. Since the gravel trout spawning beds of the river have been washed clean from detritus. The recovery from this pollution has seen increasing fly life populations year after year which benefit not only the wild trout and grayling but also the vast populations of invertebrates in the river.

At the same time the trustees have taken active measures to control predators such as mink, pike and cormorants in the rivers while acknowledging the return of otters to Hungerford.

Since 2009 the trustees have organised annual programmes of Walk & Talks together with the improvements of habitats for Wild Birds, restoration of wild flower meadows and the re-seeding of wild flowers on the Common Port Down.

Where there is land there is likely to be rabbit and mole damage from their excavations, if not managed these populations get out of control and will lead to infestations of ragwort, a notifiable poisonous plant. This in turn has to be controlled by hand pulling or use of selective herbicides.For some years the trustees have been restoring hedge rows by coppicing, cutting and planting. Evergreens have been illuminated and replaced by indigenous hard wood trees. Where possible when felling and clearing wood stacks are piled up as habitat for new populations of insects which provide a larder for small mammals’ and birds. 

The trustees wild bird recorders have now reported 110 different species of resident and migrant birds and around 3500 are ringed annually as part of the British Ornithological Trusts countrywide surveys.

The trustees work has benefited from outside organisations like Natural England, Environment Agency, North Wessex Downs AONB and ARK ( Action River Kennet) and West Berks Council.All this seems far away from Tree Hives but here there is another opportunity to add to the efforts of the trustees to add to the quality of the environment and bio-diversity of Hungerford and the protection of our precious wild life.

WATERCRESS SUPPER

The first of the Hocktide events this year, the Watercress Supper for Sanden Fee Commoners took place on Tuesday 26 March.

This is a traditional event where the AGM is held on an annual basis to discuss the year that has passed and plans for the future for the Sanden Fee tithing.

Sanden Fee tithing includes Freeman’s Marsh and Hungerford Marsh. 

The Liberty of Sanden Fee was once a separate entity until it merged with the Town & Manor in the 1960s.

Click here for more information on the history of Sanden Fee on the Hungerford Virtual Museum.

Click here for more about Hocktide 2019 

 

STAINED GLASS WINDOW RESTORATION

Can anyone shed any light ?

We are renovating the stained glass window in the Corn Exchange as shown on the left. 

Where did the Corn Exchange window originate from ?

The glass in the Town Hall is fading and next on the list.

We believe this window pane may have been transferred from the old Town Hall in 1871. 

DAWN BIRD WALK

Join our River Keeper Rob Starr and ARK – Action for the River Kennet on Saturday 15th June for an early morning walk along the riverbanks to enjoy the birds and other wildlife present. 

There will be a bird ringing demonstration, so an opportunity to see birds up close and learn more about ringing.

Meet at 5.45am in the Fisherman’s car park at Denford for a prompt 6am start.

Not an ARK member? Join now or on the day.  
Option for the group to purchase a full English breakfast/bacon sandwich etc. at a local premises at the end of the walk. 

Advanced booking essential with Anna on email anna@riverkennet.org 

Please let Anna know if you are interested in advance of the day.

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