Kelk Meadows
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The Nora Hanbury Kelk Meadows

The Reserve, consisting of nineteen acres of low-lying grassland next to the River Lark between Mildenhall and Barton Mills, was donated to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust in 1980 by the Hanbury Kelk family in memory of their mother.

The Meadows are managed by Charlie Peachey, the Warden.

There is restricted access to the meadows, for they are carefully managed to create a special "wet area" for wildlife that is fast disappearing. Work parties conserve a balance of vegetation and the grazing animals keep the coarse vegetation under control. The work is carried out by volunteers.

Meadows 1.jpg (51992 bytes)Sheep and cattle graze the meadows during the year. For those whose gardens face the meadows it is sheer joy to see the newborn lambs gambling in the spring. Pheasants, ducks and geese can also be seen. There is a pair of swans nesting in one of the ditches.

Prior to the 1980s the meadows, as water meadows, had deteriorated through lack of water as the culvert under the river had become blocked. Since the introduction of a new source of water, and various ditches and dykes being dug, the environment has been much improved.

There are four meadows separated by dykes. Because no artificial fertilisers are used and the water level is carefully controlled there is a Meadows 2.jpg (73801 bytes)wealth of wildflowers growing here, for example cuckoo flower, buttercups, ragged robin, large bird's foot trefoil, mallow and - since the Trust has been managing the area - the early marsh orchid. There is also a wealth of bird life here including snipe, redshank and lapwings, which nest in the meadows.

Copyright 2000: C. Peachey

A Forest Heath District Council (Suffolk) Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Millennium Festival 2000 Designed by ArtAtac