Wapley Bushes Conservation Group title

The Upper Meadow

Crossing the bridge into the upper meadow you find yourself surrounded by a completely different plant community. This is because of the underlying clay soil, which restricts drainage.

In the lower part of the field, this can be seen by the growth of various sedges and rushes, plants which prefer damp conditions.

The poor drainage makes it difficult for hay cutting to take place, which is a reason why fewer species grow here than in the lower meadow. However, if you are lucky you may be able to find some common spotted orchids growing along the top hedge. A footpath leads from the site across the fields to Chipping Sodbury.

Following the edge of this field is a mature hedgerow, probably several hundred years old. A rough estimate of the age of a hedgerow can be arrived at by counting the number of species in a 30 metre length. One additional species means one century of growth. The hedgerow is like a very narrow woodland, which provides a corridor for wildlife between the woodland and surrounding area.

Hedgerows are a particularly important habitat, as they mimic the woodland edge, so reflect all the stages in the development of a mature woodland. This can clearly be seen in the hedge along the eastern boundary with the scrub layer invading the open grassland and the larger trees growing up behind.

Hedgerow trees are also important as they provide a perch for songbirds, were they can be seen and heard easily by potential mates.