Beane Marsh is a new nature reserve near Hertford North Station in Hertford, East Hertfordshire.
Save Beane Marshes and local donors raised vital funds that supported Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust to buy the Beane Marsh site in summer 2020.
Beane Marsh hasn’t been managed for wildlife for many years but with the right care it could provide shelter and food for a wide variety of insects, birds and mammals.
We need to raise £8,400 to install new fencing around the site – this will allow the introduction of cattle grazing which is vital for managing the nature reserve. A donation of £500 could help install a new gate, each donation of £110 could help install 10 metres of fencing, and each donation of £11 could help install 1m of fencing!
If we can reach half our target (£4,200), then we might be eligible to ask East Herts District Council to contribute up to £2,000 extra towards our total!
Why is Beane Marsh important?
Beane Marsh, is a floodplain grassland, a rare and vulnerable habitat. Despite its relatively small size, the site boasts a mosaic of habitats – from wetter areas of fen and swamp to semi-wet, marshy margins and dry grassland.
Nature is in crisis. We need 30% of land and sea in the UK to be connected and protected for nature’s recovery by 2030. Securing the future of sites like Beane Marsh and making them the best wildlife havens we can is crucial to our planet and a great benefit to our local community. If it’s good for the planet then it’s good for all of us.
Beane Marsh is not a large site and it needs to be managed for nature. As such, there will only be occasional access allowed for conservation work and other small-scale activities. But this is a truly local nature reserve in full view of the community – there are great views across the site from the bridge on Beane Road.
Why will this project help?
To manage this nature reserve for wildlife, the Trust needs to introduce cattle grazing for a couple of months each year. The site has become dominated by tall ‘rank’ plants such as nettles. Cattle selectively graze ‘ranker’ vegetation and allow wild flowers to flourish. By reintroducing conservation grazing to Beane Marsh, it will help to create a diverse grassland structure of benefit to a wide range of wildlife. Wetland wildflowers will flourish, and in turn will benefit insects such as bees and butterflies. This in turn will benefit other species such as birds and bats. Cattle grazing will also open up small wetland ponds of benefit to dragonflies and amphibians.
What happens next?
We will be supporting the Trust to learn more about the wildlife on the site during surveys and site visits during the spring and summer of 2021.
If we achieve our funding target then the Trust will be able to start the fencing work at the end of the summer, after the bird nesting season. Cattle should then be introduced the following spring.
Any funding we receive over and above our £8,400 target will go towards the Trust’s improvements at the site in the coming year including:
- Installation of a cattle corral to safely move livestock on and off the site
- Design and installation of new information signs about the site and its wildlife
- Tools and equipment to help look after the site
The livestock fencing will follow the boundary of the nature reserve and include protection for the riverbank. Along Beane Road the fenceline will run inside the nature reserve hedgerow, away from the current highways boundary.
Who we are
Save Beane Marshes - https://savebeanemarshes.org.uk/ - is a charity set up by a group of local residents with the aim to raise funding to help the Wildlife Trust buy and look after Beane Marsh Nature Reserve.
Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust – http://www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/ is the leading voice for wildlife conservation in Hertfordshire and Middlesex. Together with the support of its volunteers and members, the Trust takes practical action every day to help wildlife flourish. The Trust manages a network of nature reserves, covering nearly 2,000 acres, including woodlands, grasslands and wetlands as well as nationally rare habitats such as fen-meadows and patches of heath and orchard. Beyond this, the Trust is working towards a Living Landscape: In partnership with local councils and companies, it aims to improve urban and rural areas for wildlife and people. There are 46 Wildlife Trusts across the UK: The Wildlife Trusts are the only charities working to protect the full range of UK wildlife and habitats on a local level.