Nature notes

Carver’s Pool

Carver’s Pool in the centre of the village was restored in 1994. A survey of plants (see below) was conducted at that time by Mary Palfrey, botanist with the Farming Wildlife Advisory Group. A deer has been seen drinking from the pond in the early morning and a heron is a regular visitor. The pond is now regularly maintained by village volunteers.

Alisma plantago aquatica Common water plantain
Calystegia sepium Hedge bindweed
Carex pseudocyperus Cyperus sedge
Deschampsia cespitosa Tufted hair grass
Elytrigia repens Couch grass
Epilobium hirsutum Great willow herb
Filipendula ulmaria Meadowsweet
Galium palustre Marsh bedstraw
Geranium pratense Meadow cranesbill
Iris pseudacorus Yellow iris
Lycopus europeus Gypsywort
Lythrum salicaria Purple loosestrife
Mentha aquatica Water mint
Persicaria bistorta Common bistort
Phalaris arundinacea Reed canary grass
Phleum pratense Timothy
Plantago major Greater plantain
Poa annua Annual meadow grass
Poa trivialis Rough meadow grass
Potentilla anserina Silverweed
Ranunculus acris Meadow buttercup
Ranunculus repens Creeping buttercup
Rumex hydrolapathum Water dock
Rumex sanguineus Wood dock
Rumex obtusifolius Broad leaved dock
Scutellaria galericulata Skullcap
Solanum dulcamara Woody nightshade
Stachys palustris Marsh woundwort
Typa latifolia Reed mace
Urtica dioica Common nettle
Vicia cracca Tufted vetch

Chaceley Meadow

Chaceley meadow was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1993 because it is one of the county’s finest wildflower-rich wet meadows. The meadow is so small that it was not much use for commercial agriculture and so it escaped applications of fertilisers or herbicides. Its poor soil supports over 100 different varieties of wildflower, including many found in few other locations because they would not compete with vigorous species that grow in richer soil. In 1994 the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust purchased the field and manage it in a traditional way. Hay is cut after plants have flowered and this ensures plenty of seed to grow in following years. Cattle then graze the field in the autumn. The pollarded willows that bound the field are themselves an important habitat. The gnarled bark and crevices provide homes for a wide range of birds and rare beetles.

Birds of the Chaceley area

Chaceley is situated in the heart of the area known to ornithologists as “The Severn Hams”, ie. the low lying meadows along the River Severn. The birds of the area are hence typical of riverside meadows. On the river itself, Kingfishers and Sand Martins nest in holes in the banks, while in the thick riverside vegetation, often with overhanging willows, birds like Red Warblers, Sedge Warblers and Reed Bunting make their nests. In the meadows themselves, Curlews and Skylarks nest on the ground; and the nesting birds of the hedgerows and trees include Blue Tit, Great Tit, Treecreeper, Linnet , Bullfinch and Yellowhammer. One very special bird is the Redstart, which likes to nest in holes in the boles of ancient pollarded willows. Cuckoos are also common. There are plenty of birds of prey: the commonest are Kestrel, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk, but if you are very lucky, yum as see a Hobby, a very elegant small falcon which hunts swallows and martins in the evening.

In late summer, the “beaches” along the river may hold passing waders like common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher or Dunlin, on their way from northern breeding places to wintering areas further south. There are also generally Grey Herons and Mute Swans along the river.

In winter, numbers of geese, swans and ducks come to the Severn; they tend to spend the day in places where they can loaf on shallow water, like the nearby reserves at Ashleworth or Coombe Hill, but they may often be seen in flight over Chaceley. The commonest species are Canada Geese, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Pintail, and Shoveler, but with luck you could see Bewick’s or Whooper Swans, and in cold snaps when ponds and pools are frozen, diving ducks like Tufted Duck or Goosander appear on the Severn. In winter too there are different species to be seen in the fields and hedgerows, notably thrushes like Fieldfares, Redwings and Stonechats, together with a variety of finches.