Drought at Sarah’s Field, BerkeleySarahs Field 7


The very hot periods in the spring and summer caused water-loss to the ponds on this site. This led to concern, particularly as the field was so well-used as an educational and recreational space during the lockdown period.

Many families were invested in the well-being of newts, nymphs and diving beetles. Eventually, in late July, success was achieved with a water pump.

But a long-term solution is now to be sought with the backing of the town council, to automatically pump ground-water into the ponds using an agricultural solar-powered pump.

In a way, by replacing the water that the modern drainage system is removing, we will be re-wetting the habitat - surely a good thing!

Berkeley Town CouncilSarahs Field 8Sarahs Field 9




Nike footwear | Men’s shoes

 The field is becoming a place! It has pathways, fruit trees, entrance gates, picnic tables, a bog and two ponds, and benches to sit on and contemplate the view. On Sarahs Field 2Tuesdays, volunteers meet to manage, mow and create habitats. Sarah’s Field is named after the girl who kept her horses here in the early 1900s. Her granddaughter, Pamela Thorpe, bequeathed the field to Berkeley Town Council as a green community space with a water meadow. On the site are toads, voles, fox and badger paths, resident starlings and sparrows.

Tired, hot pond-diggers: SVP heroes in the heat wave of summer 2018



During the summer months, paths were mown, a corporate workday with St James’s Place Wealth Investments achieved a lot of digging, the gates were put in place, the bog was made.

The pond shapes were sculpted, by skilled landscaper Jeremy Prout and friends, with a mix of depths and sizes which will create a rich variety of watery habitats. During this work, many ‘treasures’ have been unearthed: pottery, ceramics, a Queen Victoria penny, marbles, clay pipes and horses’ teeth; these may result from its former use as a fair ground. Such tales of the field, shared by local people, include how it flooded in 1968 and 2001, how it was adjoined to the orchards of the James family (complete with cider press), and how it had both an elm tree and a pond.

In September the pond liners were delivered and moving the heavy rolled-up liner involved a few unprintable words! Berkeley residents donated carpets to line the ponds. The challenge of getting water into them was solved thanks to a water pump hired from Ermin’s. The powerful little Honda pump lifted and transported the water from the ‘rhine’ (Saxon for ditch) to the ponds 40 meters away.


At the open day on 6 October, newt hibernation areas were made, and apples pressed into juice by Girl Guides, Rangers and local residents. On 26 January there will be a Wassail, to ‘give health’ to the fruit trees with song and cider.

I hope Sarah would be pleased with this work in her field.


Sarah’s Field Water Meadow - Volunteers needed!

Sarahs Field

At our new project in Berkeley, we now have a picnic table.

On Tuesdays, we are creating a community orchard, pond, wetland, pathways and wildlife habitats.

As there are Great Crested Newts in the town, we are planning how and when to do the digging, and vegetation cutting, so as not to disturb these amphibians.

We now hope they will come and live there using the habitat corridors, the logs to hide under, and the pond to breed in.

The first task was planting 20 fruit trees, with a focus on rare and local Gloucestershire apple varieties, such as ‘Berkeley Pippin’, ‘Arlingham Schoolboys’ and ‘Jackets and Waistcoats’.

The site historically flooded as it is only a few metres above the Severn, and a local resident showed us a photo of it all under water in July 1968. This winter it has not flooded, but the meadow has been very damp and squidgy, so the term ‘water meadow’ is used for it. 


At the edges is blackthorn scrub full of sparrows and blue tits; we have now added some different tree species such as alder, willow, spindle and dog rose to create diversity.



Field Location

You will find a map here :

Sarah's Field location

Sarah's Field is in the middle of the map, the one to the left of the road called James Orchard and beside Lynch Road.





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

Registered number: 2224016    

Registered charity number: 900107


Stroud Valleys Project

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