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Scrub encroachment of our meadows.
The left hand aerial photographs are from 1946 and the right hand 1999.
The area circled in blue shows clearly the encroachment of Oaks from the adjacent hedge.If you look at the area circled in red it is clear that the section of meadow there is totally lost to scrub. For the friends to recover this area would be extremely time consuming and expensive it would require heavy machinery.
The area circled in yellow is heading in the same direction and will be lost in the very near future. The two areas circled in purple are scrubby areas that are beginning to gain a hold on two open meadows, Without management the whole of the meadows will be lost to scrub.
It is sometimes argued "so what" we lose the meadow and gain the scrub. This is true but what needs to be considered is that virtually the whole of the English landscape is artificial, if we abandoned our wild areas totally to nature they would run through a natural progression of meadow to scrub to forest all of our lowland with good soils would eventually revert to forest. OK for woodpeckers but not so good for skylarks. With the tiny amount of land set aside as nature reserves it is usually preferred that we try to maintain a mosaic of habitats, meadows, hedgerows, woodland, ponds and even some scrub. In Dagnam Park we are very fortunate in that these diverse habitats already exist. The difficulty will be keeping them.
Del Smith. 2005