The story of the revelation and development of Moons Moat, the historic scheduled ancient monument in Church Hill South, Redditch continues. Derek Coombes, Chairman of the volunteer Moons Moat Conservation Group (MMCG) reports on the progress made during the last six months since approval of the Management Plan by Historic England.
‘Six months after we launched our 10-year Site Management Plan and the associated Outreach Plan,’ he explained, ‘we are pleased to say that the majority of the 2018 activities have been completed or are scheduled to be actioned before the year end’.
‘In terms of site management we have completed two passes at cutting-back scrub and new tree growth on the north and south banks of the main pond. A quarter of the reeds in this area have also been cut down and the low water level has enabled rubbish and debris to be removed from the moat bed. During this last week,’ he added, ‘contactors have been on site installing new chestnut post and rail fence around the north, west and south sides of the moat adjacent to the island. This fencing not only denotes the extent of the scheduled area but is an important health and safety deterrent, protecting the steep banks in this area.’
‘Earlier in the year the culvert that feeds the water to the moat was cleared and small dam installed to direct water from the stream to the culvert. It is only the lack of water in the brook now that has caused the moat to dry out. Sadly,’ he commented, ‘we have no control over that’.
The Group has arranged a Bat Activity Survey which has been completed as the pre-cursor to planned tree work which should be actioned before the year end. ‘This three-year tree programme,’ Derek added, ‘will lower the canopy, thin-out and remove unwanted growth and start to reclaim the island from its overgrown state. Our thanks go to Redditch Borough Council and North Worcestershire Water Management who have led these activities.’
With respect to the Outreach Activities the MMCG web site has been revamped and updated and a new tri-fold leaflet about the Moat written and published with support from the Church Hill Big Local Partnership for an enabling grant.
Derek commented further upon the community Fun Day held at the site in late September. ‘This showed what community activities could be held at the site,’ he said, ‘even if the rain did keep many away.
The next activity on site is a “Bulb Planting” day in November when pupils from Moons Moat First School and Abbeywood First School have been invited to plant spring flowering bulbs. They will be invited back next year to see the results of their efforts.’
The Moons Moat Conservation group and its partner organisations are now moving into planning mode for the 2019 activities. ‘On the site management side, it is very much a continuation of the maintenance task started this year. In addition we are planning regular monthly volunteer sessions to support such activities as scrub clearance, litter-picking and reed removal.’
‘There are three strands to the outreach activities we hope to complete next year. Two involve signage, in which we hope directional “Brown” signs will be installed by Worcestershire County Council, and local “Finger Boards” to help visitors find the site. The other activity involves the installation of two interpretation boards on site. One board will show the History and Archaeology of the site, the other the Wild Life and Ecology.’
‘The other key strand to our activities is to progress the creation of the Community Wild Life Garden and Forest School on the site to the east of the scheduled area. Again funding is being sought for community grant providers as well as from our recently launched Crowd-fund scheme. Once created, this will provide a base for local school, scouts and guides and other groups to hold activities on site.’
‘To further raise awareness,’ Derek concluded, ‘and to seek the views of local residents and community groups, we hope to hold an open evening at a local venue in November.
When details of our activities planned for 2019 will be published. We hope that those interested in supporting these plans and developing this unique historic Redditch site will come along and join us.’
The group has also launched a Crowd Funding appeal on the Just Giving website. This is not only part of its over quest for funding to support these plans but also to enable Redditch residents to “buy into” the project and get involved. Visit the groups web site at www.moonsmoatconservation.info for more details.
So if you feel like supporting these plans, or are willing to volunteer to help, donate or sponsor activities or you would like to know more, please get it touch with the MMCG contacts below.
Derek Coombes - Acting Chairman
01527 404365 or 07860 326582
Philip Mitchell - Secretary
Stephen Betteridge – Chair, Green Spaces - Church Hill Big Local Partnership: