Keith Parkins | 16.07.2009 11:56 | Free Spaces
Woodbridge Meadows is a strip of land alongside the River Way in Guildford, downstream from the town centre. From the name, once upon a time meadows.
In 1607, the strip of land was known as Lees meadow. It was connected to surrounding farmland and was on the edge of the Forest of Windsor established by Henry II in 1154. It remained a royal park until the 1620s. Now it is an isolated strip of land, across the road ugly industrial units.
Last spring a number of mature trees were cut down. It was claimed to restore the meadow to its former glory. One year on, there is little but invasive weed species, which have moved in to colonise the disturbed land.
If the intention was to create a meadow, then it has to be managed. It either has to be grazed by animals or the grass mowed in the summer.
There was actually no need to cut down the trees to attempt to create a meadow, as upstream from the town centre there is extensive meadows.
At the Ambient Green Picnic I picked up a leaflet for Guildford Transition Town in which they praise the environmental credentials of Guildford Council, and in particular cite Woodbridge Meadows! To be fair to the local council, their environmental track record is far better than the neighboring Rotten Borough of Rushmoor (as it is known by those who live there), which is poised to approve a plan to double the number of flights at Farnborough Airport.
The only good that has come out of the destruction of the mature tress is the amazing tree sculptures by the Tree Pirates.
Along the top of the height barrier to the small car park by the railway bridge, is an interesting piece of public art by local artist Richard Farrington of a steam train crossing the railway bridge.