The Council or Committees may from time to time establish working groups to research and develop ideas or projects. Working groups are informal but governed by a terms of reference. Working groups cannot make decisions on behalf of the Council.
Rhead’s Meadow – Somerford Nature Reserve Park
Members: Cllr G Bell, Cllr P Crompton, Mrs H Brough and the Clerk Julie Mason
RSPB Project Officer Colin Pringle Colin.Pringle@rspb.org.uk
The farmland to the east of Blackfirs Lane and west of the Congleton Town Boundary was known on the old Cheshire Tithe Map as “common land” in the ancient Parish of Radnor. The Rhead family (wealthy Mill owners) and residents of Somerford bought this prime agricultural land and Blackfirs Farm in 1952 from the Radley family. Blackfirs Farm was later sold to Mrs Jean Crawford who is the current owner.
When Mrs Irene Lavinia Rhead died in 1997 she bequeathed the land approximately twenty acres to the charity The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, (RSPB). It was her express wish that the land should be preserved and used for the benefit of wildlife and should not be built upon as stated in her will. The land currently forms a green open space separating urban Congleton from the more rural Parish of Somerford. Since the land was handed over to the RSPB it has been let out to a local farmer, who has grown winter feed crops.
In the Cheshire East Council’s emerging Local Plan the land has been marked as suitable for development despite local opposition. The RSPB wish to capitalize on its intrinsic value and have put forward the land for development. However after much local and national negative publicity the RSPB approached Somerford Parish Council with a view to gifting a significant proportion (appox nine acres) of the land to the Council to form a haven for wildlife by creating a wildflower meadow and community orchard.
This generous offer adheres to Mrs Rhead’s wishes and is an excellent opportunity for Somerford Parish Council to create a fantastic communal green open space.
North Meadow now has a new Laurel hedge, kindly paid for by one of the residents from Blackfirs Lane.
First delivery of trees and plants from AP Matthews for Rheads Meadow - planting has started!
Exciting news! The wildflower meadows have now been seeded by Hannah from Cheshire Wildlife Trust from seeds harvested this year. We look forward to watching the results...
The photos below show the tractor and plough arriving on site at 10.30 a.m. today – Tuesday the 1st September – the first step in creating the soft-landscaping. It looks like being a busy autumn – let’s hope the weather is as kind to us as it is today. The next step will be rotavating the ploughed area and then a short pause to allow the land to settle before seeding...
We were pleased to be able to show you the progress the parish council is making with our principal project – Rhead’s Meadows Nature Park. You were able to walk the footpaths we have built though the 9 acres of former farmland and see the areas in which we hope to deliver wildflower meadows, long grass meadows, shrub and small tree borders and woodland through which a walk will be...
We are approaching a busy period for the development of the Meadows and I write to update you regarding our plans and to ask for your assistance. Please see the latest plan. Wildflower & Grassland Meadows The grass has been cut in both meadows and taken as hay which will now enable us to prepare the first of our wildflower meadows. In order to do this, the ground will be...
It is with great regret that we have had to close the Rhead’s Meadows site due to safety concerns for staff and suppliers shutting their doors. We will keep you updated through the coming weeks with regards to when we will be back on site. Many thanks, Groundworks Manager J K Ashbrook Ltd
Footpaths across the meadow have started to be installed...
Somerford Parish Council are so grateful to Sibelco for planting 250 metres of native hedging on the RSPB land.
The plans have been amended with new pathways, due to the concern of damaging roots on the oak tree in the middle of the site.