Rackleaze Wetland, Cam

Since the last article in the newsletter Stroud Valleys Project and its regular Thursday volunteer group have been busy with habitat management work including the start of the annual comfrey ‘bash’ (cutting back) which was scythed (less messy than a brush-cutter), and the management of the newly planted hedgerow. This has suffered over the hot summer months and a number of plants have actually died which we will replace this coming autumn.

The volunteer group has also completely rebuilt the footbridge that crosses the ditch on site, a job which was achieved over two sessions to take down and build (see photos). We also hope to start giving the old boardwalk a wire brushing and wood preserve if weather will allow us!

Rackleaze 1ARackleaze 2ARackleaze 3A




adidas shoes store coupons free shipping any order , Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG 'Chicago' White and Black-Varsity Red For Sale

As a result of this fine piece of work to build the footbridge, we have been asked by the parish council to draw up plans and quote for another extension for the boardwalk on site. This would again create more disabled wheelchair access on to the wetland areas. We are hopeful of securing further funding in the future to complete a circular boardwalk around the wetland site.


Our management of the wetland site as well as the adjacent balancing pond on behalf of Tesco has opened up these green spaces for people to enjoy and wildlife to thrive.


Good examples of wildlife seen or heard over past few months have included; two Grass snakes (Natrix natrix) on different occasions (1 adult, 1 juvenile) by the team and a Reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) heard by our own bird expert, Barbara Wood. She has said that we are very lucky to have the Reed bunting as their numbers have been on the decline over the past years mainly due to habitat loss.


Thanks once again to all the Thursday group volunteers who help look after the wildlife area and a big thank you to Denise Gibbons and Barbara Wood for their support on wildlife sightings on site along with the continued support and partnership of Cam Parish Council.

















Orchid 2

Our work at the Rackleaze Wetland nature reserve continues with volunteers involved on-site in both habitat management work and hedgerow restoration.

The hedgerow restoration project has been focussed on the clearing and coppicing of isolated old hedgerow shrubs along a boundary ditch adjacent to the public footpath that runs across the reserve. This work has taken a number of sessions to complete and clear. It has been double row planted with native hedgerow species that include hazel, guelderose, hawthorn and wayfaring tree.

This small but great project has restored and enhanced a new wildlife corridor that will provide refuge, cover and food source for a variety of wildlife. It is hoped that if managed correctly over the first six to seven years the hedgerow can then be laid.

Over the next few sessions on-site we hope to rebuild the small foot bridge that has weathered and then been vandalised. Once this work is completed visitors will be able to once again walk all around the nature reserve.

We will be keeping a close eye on the Southern Marsh Orchid plant community this May in the hope of seeing further flower spikes.







Rackleaze Wetland, Cam

Our partnership with Cam Parish Council at this wetland site continues with the managing and maintenance of footpaths and the scything of grassland.

Over the past summer months grassland areas have been cut to encourage lower ground flora. Grassland management in particular areas has been focussed on supporting conditions that will encourage the Southern Marsh orchids and this year we have been pleasantly surprised to have found seven such orchids. See the great photograph taken in June this year by our volunteer Paul Green of one of the seven found.

Along with the management and upkeep of the wetland site, Stroud Valleys Project has also run two events at Rackleaze. A bat walk led by our good SVP Friend Nadine Smykatz-Kloss and a Bioblitz survey lead by our own ID team of Denise Gibbons and Barbara Wood.

Work at the wetland site has continued with volunteers involved in the annual comfrey cutting; this year for the first time some comfrey areas have been cut by scythe. This annual management helps us to keep control of the comfrey that, if untouched, would out-compete other wildflowers at the wetland.

Highlights this season - apart from the Southern Marsh Orchids - have been the sighting of a number of grass snakes on-site. On three different visits to the site during the grass cutting season grass snakes were spotted moving through freshly cut grass areas of scrub habitat. The working party that spotted them are in agreement that they were adults and not young as they were seen from some 5 to 10 metres - a distance from which young would hardly be seen.

From my last report on the continued dog fouling and litter problems, I can report that the parish council has recently installed a new dog/litter bin at the edge of the nature reserve, I hope that this will encourage people to ‘pick up’ dog mess and not drop litter - both of which over time will degrade the wildlife site for all. This issue will be monitored by both Cam Parish Council and Stroud District Council Neighbourhood WardensCamPC

For more information about work we are doing at the wetland site contact Richard Lewis on 01453 753358.




Hedgelaying and clearing, CamRL1

Work at the Rackleaze wetland site has continued with volunteers involved in the annual comfrey cutting. This year for the first time some comfrey areas were cut by scythe as can be seen here.

This annual management helps us to keep control of the comfrey that, if untouched, would out compete other wildflowers at the wetland.

Volunteers over the past few sessions have also been laying an old hedge line that links between another hedgerow and the field pond on-site.

We would like to think that visitors to the site respect its space and enjoy this beautiful wildlife oasis. I have sadly had to be in contact with both the Stroud District Council Neighbourhood Wardens and the Cam Parish Council in regard to the continuing problems of dog fouling and littering.

However, on a much brighter note I intend to set off this spring with a number of sessions working at the potential water vole habitat, a small piece of riverbank edge land that we help to maintain adjacent to Rackleaze and the Sundeala factory.


For more information about the work we are doing at the wetland site contact Richard Lewis on 01453 753358 or

r This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



Rackleaze 1

Our monthly visits to the Rackleaze site in Cam have continued with work on boundary clearance next to the adjacent balancing pond (see above) and the making of a rustic bench from a fallen tree on-site. TRackleaze 2he picture here shows volunteers securing the finished wooden bench into the ground. It is hoped that there


will be enough timber from the fallen tree to also make a small table that will be installed next to the bench. As we now move from summer through to autumn, we were very excited on our last visit to spot one of the resident grass snakes basking in late September sunshine. A lot of our work over the next few months will be focussed on the annual cutting and composting of comfrey that is growing on-site. This job helps us keep control of the comfrey which, if left untouched, would out compete other wildflowers at the wetland. There will also be an apple pressing day on 29 October.
For more info about work SVP are doing at the wetland site or how to get involved,contact Richard Lewis on
01453 753358.





Rackleaze wetland

Monthly visits to the wetland site at Rackleaze in Cam have continued with further work carried out to improve access onto the boardwalk. We are installing a handrail along the footpath making it easier for visitors to access the site. We hope over the next month to upgrade the short footpath with top aggregate (stone to dust) to finish off the footpath section. We built a small dam (bund) on the field pond to keep more water in and this has worked well as the picture above of frogspawn shows (taken late February this year). Now, we hope that we may attract amphibians and other pond life to the pond.

If you live locally, go and have a look at the hedge laying that we carried out as part of an Adult Education week-long Hedge Laying for Beginners course. The students were taught the skills of processing hazel for stakes and heatherings (bindings that give the hedgerow support and structure), taught how to cut a ‘living hinge’ or pleach-cut to lay the hedgerow together with the skill of weaving in the hazel bindings. The students had fun constructing and creating a newly laid hedgerow.

Also look out for the Wetland Wonder Day planned in August this year.

For more information contact Richard on 01453 753358 or

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



MontSouthern Hawkerhly visits to the wetland site at Rackleaze have continued with the final cutting of the grass footpaths before winter sets in. We have also worked on managing the bramble areas as well as some clearing out of built-up debris and silt in the feeder stream to the field pond on site. As we move into this winter phase of our work at the site, we hope - through consultation with our partners at Cam Parish Council - to make further improvements for wildlife and people.

Later this year we will be working around the pond area to build a small ‘bund’ or dam, where we believe it may leak water in the drier months of the year. If we can solve this leaking problem then the pond will hopefully hold water all year round, and in so doing create further opportunities for wildlife to flourish. For example, have a look at the great photograph of a Southern hawker which was taken by Paul Green.

Also at this time of year we will do the annual cut of comfrey although leaving some as it still provides an over-wintering habitat for insect larvae. The comfrey will be composted in large wooden bays constructed by our volunteers.


Further funding secured for the Rackleaze wetlands in Campg140815 rackleaze 041resized

Stroud Valleys Project has secured further funding to manage this wetland site thanks to Cam Parish Council agreeing a new and extended 3 year Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA commits both the parish council and SVP to maintain and further enhance this wildlife oasis for all the community to enjoy. As we move forward in partnership with the parish council, we hope to also secure more funding for small projects on-site such as the extension of the boardwalk, allowing members of the public access without wellington boots, thereby creating a short circular walk around the wetland reserve.

In August, SVP ran its annual Open Day Event where the public were invited to join in netting and identifying insects under the watchful eyes of Denise Gibbons and Barbara Wood (SVP’s own Wildlife Survey Team). At the event, display boards gave visitors an opportunity to see how positive but sensitive management was increasing opportunities for all wildlife.

From a wildlife point of view, we again found the Southern Marsh Orchid in the wet grassland area with the cutting and clearing of comfrey now under control. The grassland swards are diverse with numerous grassland species supporting an abundance of insect life, with frogs and a number of slow worms being observed, but sadly no signs of ‘Hissing Sid’ the grass snake.

Looking further in to the future, SVP hopes to talk with The Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust and The Herpetological Conservation Trust - both UK based charities established to further the conservation of amphibians and reptiles - with a view to learning survey techniques that may help us establish population numbers of amphibians found at the wetland.

Once again, ’thank you’ to Cam Parish Council for their continued financial support of our work at the wetland site, as well as the sterling efforts of a small band of volunteers who make Rackleaze Wetland the beautiful wildlife oasis that it is today.




A wildlife oasis in Cam

Rackleaze Wetland

Stroud Valleys Project has continued its work in partnership with Cam Parish Council maintaining the Rackleaze wetland site over the summer months.

SVP now only visits the nature reserve twice a month in the summer and once a month in the winter. However, this has not halted the good work that is achieved by SVP and its volunteers who have been involved in creating new woody habitat piles, keeping both the public footpath and the nature reserve paths maintained for the public to enjoy, as well as krackleaze comp01resizedeeping the site clear of litter, rubbish and dog muck!

Contractors visited the site for the annual cut of comfrey, cut late in the year to maximise its use for wildlife. Allowing the comfrey to grow and take over the site will have a negative effect on other smaller wild flowers and grasses. The comfrey will however grow back very rapidly once again providing its yearly food resource for insects and wildlife to enjoy.


Over the winter months we will start restoring the woody area and hedgerow that runs adjacent to the feeder stream by the field pond.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about the site or when SVP will next be at the reserve, contact Richard at SVP on 01453 753358 or email



GL11 logo master sm











Stroud Valleys Project is a limited company,
registered in England and Wales

Registered number: 2224016    

Registered charity number: 900107


Stroud Valleys Project

8 Threadneedle Street




Tel: 01453 753358

Email: info@stroudvalleysproject.org

Find us on FacebookTwitter logo

instagram@svpcharity / @svpecoshop