21 May 2014
Anger after Rodden Lake Stream Meadow turned into a 'prison'
Posted by Super User

Metal fencing has caused upset and outrage amongst residents in Frome, Somerset.  

The fencing, which has been installed either side of a public footpath that runs across the Rodden Lake Stream Meadow, restricts public access to the much loved fields - home to a variety of wildlife, flora and fauna.

Councillor and former Mayor of Frome, Pippa Goldfinger, described it as being like fencing found "in a high security prison" saying: "What was once a pleasant meadow open to all is now unpleasantly restricted." 

In fact last year there was a public campaign to save the fields from sale by a specially formed support group called 'Save Frome Meadow Campaign'.    
It was hoped that access to the land could be maintained by using crowd funding to buy the land.  However, the group's attempt to register the meadows as a community asset failed meaning that there was no time to raise funds locally to buy the land.  

Local haulage company owner Alan Brunt bought the site for £210,000 last autumn and it is feared that the land is under threat.  

Local residents have reported that the hedgerows have been grubbed up and it is also thought that the land has been fertilised.  This could result in the grasses overwhelming rare wildflower which would have a devastating knock-on effect for insect and bird life.  

Sue Everett, a sustainability consultant and ecologist, said: "What has been done there indicates it is being turned into yet another wildlife-poor intensively farmed grassland, with hedges removed to make it easier for big machinery, while anyone thinking they will enjoy a nice country walk along the public footpath is now hemmed in by a horrific steel palisade fence."  

The campaign to save the fields was launched hoping to protect the wildlife and preserve the area for the next generation. Having been left uncultivated for some years, the land had reverted to meadowland and become a much loved local beauty spot.  Local schools have used it as a resource for nature studies and it was a popular destination for dog walkers, joggers and families walking into town.  

Only 2% of meadows and grasslands that existed throughout the UK in the 1930s still remain despite being valued for their diverse habitats, rich in wildlife and plants.