The purpose of Friends of Camden Meadow is, first and foremost, to care for this land. No longer forgotten, but clearly and visibly being managed and maintained.
We're not looking to turn back time to restore the land as a pristine lawn. That would be almost impossible now, and there’s no shortage of neatly lawned crescents in Bath. Nor are we looking to imitate any of Bath’s many other crescent gardens. Quite the opposite. We love the uniqueness of this land. We want to celebrate that. And, for the avoidance of doubt, we're certainly not looking to ignore the efforts of other local people who have sought in previous years to tackle this land. Rather, we want to build on that work, evolve it, and take it forward.
Our Vision is:
To nurture and manage Camden Meadow as a sustainable and biodiverse natural habitat. A space for nature in the urban fabric of the City. A space not dominated by a near mono-culture of hazel and laurel, but where many more native plant species can take root and thrive, and where wildlife can co-exist and flourish. And to do this in a way that opens up the wide, expansive, beautiful views from this elevated position over the Avon Valley and the City.
[For those with an urban design interest, this vision chimes well with one of the design principles that informed the development of Georgian Bath, Rus in Urbe]
Work is being undertaken in phases, step by step. This helps us focus our efforts and use our volunteer resources most effectively.
Phase 1 - Tame the Jungle - April to December 2021
Initially we have been tackling the north-eastern quarter of the land, and focussing on taming the overgrowth. Essentially this has involved cutting back and coppicing the laurel and hazel that has been allowed to take over the land in recent years, reducing their height and dominance in order to open the land up and let in some much needed sunlight to the meadow floor and allow other plants to grow, aiding biodiversity. Happily, this work has also restored some of the incredible views across the City and Avon Valley.
We've already made great strides here (over 230 hours of volunteer time, saving the Council thousands of pounds). Have a look next time you're passing.
Next steps - Management; Fruit Trees; Bees! 2022 onwards
In 2022 our work will be more about management than major change: caring for the coppiced hazel (allowing it to grow, but not to take over again); reinvigorating and expanding the meadow; doing a little targeted planting (wildflower seeds, and a smattering of native fruit trees, providing a little more diversity, insect friendly blossom, and tasty fruit); installing two beehives; and working with the Council to improve the lower boundary to Upper Hedgemead Road.
Get involved; be part of the Vision
If you have ideas that you would like to contribute, please let us know. Use the Join page to contact us.