Brafield on the Green Village Pond : British Trust for Conservation Volunteers
In 1988 Little Houghton Estate, as freeholder of the Green at Brafield, entered into a management agreement with Brafield on the Green Parish Council that gives the Parish Council responsibility for overseeing the maintenance of the Green and pond.
The Parish Council has a ‘contract’ with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) to maintain the village pond and its environs. The BTCV are a national conservation charity that operates teams of volunteers who help to improve the rural and urban environment. They do this by carrying out projects for local councils, community groups and wildlife trusts, including fence construction, rights of way management, scrub clearance, hedgelaying, pond construction and management, woodland management, dry stone walling etc. etc.
Emma Connolly is the current Northamptonshire Projects Officer for the BTCV and she organises the teams of volunteers who come, usually twice a year, to carry out vegetation control and maintenance work on the pond. They also offer professional advice and guidance for the future on tree management, habitat control, and other ecological issues. These visits are preceded by an exploratory site visit to assess requirements.
The local BTCV teams usually consist of between eight and twelve volunteers, the majority of who have many years experience of working with the BTCV and training on the job under the direct supervision and expertise of the project manager. On average they spend about six hours on each visit to us, most often during May and October each year, depending on need. In 2006 only one visit was made, in July, when the pond had all but dried up, and due to the long, hot summer it was not seen as necessary to make a second visit later that year.
The cost of each visit is now £250 plus V.A.T. This charge is made to cover office costs, vehicle costs, tools, insurance, staff time etc., but as the work is mainly undertaken by volunteers, this represents tremendous value for money, and is, in the Parish Council’s view, a very cost effective way of maintaining this environment.
Part of the work the volunteers undertake each year is the dredging and clearing of the some of the more invasive, often non native, species of vegetation, and the thinning and removal of various reed species, from the margins around the banks of the pond. This vegetation is then left in a pile adjacent to the pond for a short period, before it is removed, because it is best practice to allow the insect life the opportunity to relocate after the clearance work has been undertaken. This may appear a little unsightly to the untrained eye, but it is important in retaining the balance and diversity of wildlife as part of maintaining the pond in its natural state.
We are fortunate to have the Green and pond as one of the key features of our village environment, and the Parish Council is extremely grateful for the work that the local BTCV teams carry out on our behalf to maintain and enhance this area.
For further information on the BTCV and its work, you may find their website helpful:- www.btcv.org
Following each visit the BTCV produce a report for the Parish Council which explains the work that the team has undertaken and the rationale behind it, and suggests some forward planning issues for consideration. These reports will be added to this section of the website starting with the 2005 reports, so that residents may access these for more detailed information.
British Trust for Conservation Volunteers Reports
Date last updated: 28 May 2008 Valid until: 31 Dec 2008