Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Here Comes the Sun

When the Herd arrived last month Petersham Meadows were lush and green. April had been the wettest on record and the rain continued into May. Last week was wet and cold but the annual Twickenham Regatta heralded a change to summer.
Competitors using the draw dock at the end of River Lane to compete in theTwickenham Regatta

With the National Trust’s electric fence restricting the Herd to the western third of the Meadows the view from Richmond Hill has taken on a new appearance with the main meadow having a two tone look.
View from the Terrace on Richmond Hill
Calves grazing the restricted pasture within the fenced area

Most of the pasture within the fenced area has been grazed. Over the fence many of the grasses are a metre tall and Dandelion and Plantain seeds fill the air.

Spring visitors hidden by the tall grasses
Ribwort Plantain – Plantago lanceolata
Dandelion seeds – Taraxacum officinale

Before the National Trust installed the electric fence the herd would spend hot afternoons under the shade of the Hornbeams near the Buccleuch Garden stile. As there is little shade inside the fenced area the Herd has taken to spending more time in the barn. This small space must be very hot for 18 cows and calves.

Cow and calves having a welcome drink
Cow with her calf

Friday, 18 May 2012

Have Your Say

Have your say at the Public Meeting to discuss the National Trust’s new arrangements for Petersham Meadows.
Are the cows better protected from dog attack?
Should dogs be banned from using the Meadows during the grazing season?
Are the cows and calves a danger to the public?
'Your right to cross the Meadow from the kissing gate in River Lane to Buccleuch Garden'
What are your thoughts on the electric fence and the iconic view from Richmond Hill?
Signs, do they work?

submit your questions prior to the evening via:
Come and have your say from 7.30 pm at the Petersham Village Hall, Bute Avenue, off Sudbrook Lane

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Spring High Tide

The late but very wet spring coupled with a Perigee full moon brought the river to River Lane. Many visitors, as usual, didn’t read the signs and could only watch as the water quickly flooded the lane.
A local resident surveys the new landscape

The spring high tide forced the Richmond Canoe Club to move their afternoon sessions to River Lane
Canoes in River Lane
Riverbank footpath closed

Thursday, 3 May 2012

River Lane Kissing Gate

Electric Fence Across the Public Right of Way

It has been more than a week and the ‘temporary fence’ on Petersham Meadows is still in place. This fence blocks the Public Right of Way from the kissing gate in River Lane to Buccleuch Gardens. This footpath has been in continuous use for many years and can be found on early maps of Surrey.

1868 Ordinance Survey Map of Surrey

For many people this is the most direct route from Petersham to Richmond and blocking this path is illegal. How long have you been using this path and has its closure impacted on you?

Satellite Image in High Summer with Electric Fence marked in Yellow

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Petersham Common Woods

To the east of the Petersham Meadows below the Star & Garter Home is a small broadleaved deciduous wood. In earlier times, when it was grazed, it provided a vantage point for many artists to paint ‘the view from Richmond Hill’. The 1902 Richmond, Petersham and Ham Open Spaces Act transferred both Petersham Meadows and Petersham Common from Earl of Dysarts to the Richmond Corporation. Today it is managed by the Petersham Common Conservators as Open Space for public use.  

Information Board & Map

Trees such as Oak, Ash and Hornbeam support a large number of species below their more open canopies and in the Spring large glades of Ramsons or Wild Garlic form beautiful carpets.  

Ramsons or Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) in woodland clearing

Ramsons is incorporated into many Old English place names like Ramsbottom in Lancashire or Ramsden in Essex.

Speckled Wood Butterfly (Pararge aegeria) on Ramsons leaf