22 April 2024

Rose Cottage open afternoons with The Harnham Water Meadows Trust

A water meadow is a pasture irrigation system watered at the discretion of the farmer and a skilled specialist worker. The person who maintained and operated the meadows was called the ‘drowner’.

Rose Cottage will be open to the public on Saturday July the 8th 2pm to 5pm. There will be a sheep dog demonstration at 3:30pm that afternoon and guided walks round the Meadows.

The second one, though this time without the sheep dog, is on Saturday 12th August, 2pm to 5pm.

The Harnham Water Meadows Trust was formed in 1990 with the aim of protecting the historic and scientifically important meadows that sit in view of the beautiful Salisbury Cathedral.

The meadows, formed in the 17th century, were originally there to provide grazing, hay and crafting materials for the growing local economy. They also acted, and still do, as a flood defence for the city, which was built on ancient meadowland itself.

Their main aim is to manage the natural beauty of the meadows by keeping them operating as they did centuries ago. This includes the clearing of ditches and maintenance of the water channels, as well as pruning and trimming of plants and trees. The 84 acres include a Site of Special Scientific Interest and are home to many types of wildlife and plant life.

The small local Salisbury charity runs solely with the help of valued volunteers. From a team of Trustees to hardworking Diggers, everyone is important in the ongoing running of the charity.

The form of water meadows at Harnham is called a bedwork. Water is diverted from the river at a main hatch and flows into channels called carriers. The water runs along the tops of the constructed ridges so that it trickles through the grass, ideally at a depth of 25mm.

Another significant role of the charity is to secure donations so they can continue their work into the future.

To help conserve this place of natural beauty, they urge people to consider becoming a supporter. Every donation, no matter how large or small, is used wisely to keep this historical part of Salisbury as a working water meadow.

Upon visiting there will be refreshments, the Trustees and volunteers will also be on hand to talk about the meadows and explain more about our work.
There is no need to register.

Featured photo: https://www.salisburywatermeadows.org.uk/history/

Written by
Niamh Cunningham
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Written by Niamh Cunningham