Nature Reserve Trail (Merton Green Walks)
WERA is in the process of applying for additional funds so that further work may be carried out on the Merton Green Walks. The objective, in addition to attracting a greater variety of wildlife, and to create a beautiful place to visit, is to secure Green Flag status for the area.
Following the success of the previous project (details below under Grant 1), WERA applied to The Lottery Fund for an additional grant of £3,500. This was awarded at the end of 2012 and work began immediately.
An overgrown area of land that was previously wildflower meadow was scraped with a mechanical digger. This has now been sown with wildflower seeds and is quickly being covered with vegetation. Ongoing maintenance will be required to prevent brambles from quickly re-colonising it.
A partial hedge was extended with additional native British tree whips in December with further whips being added last month. The hope is that the hedge will have grown considerably before the old, damaged wooden fence finally collapses. This is important as the council is not willing to allocate funds to fix or replace the fence.
The pond has been repaired with sodium bentonite (clay) powder as it was not holding water as well as it should have (due to suspected deliberate mistreatment). Native, British, pollenator-friendly pond plants are being added to populate the muddy margin between the grass bank and the water.
Additional bird and bee boxes have been ordered and will soon be placed along the path. Not in time for this year but the boxes will be weathered in good time for Spring 2014.
In May 2011 a grant of £10,000 was raised by WERA from the Lottery Fund and £1,050 from Segro (who own the adjoining Nelson Trade Park) for improving the Nature Reserve Trail, which is also known as the Merton Green Walk. The Trail runs along north side of Abbey Recreation Ground and Nursery Road Playing Fields, from Morden Road to the Merton Tram station.
Little had been spent in the past to improve this area. Overgrown vegetation was cleared, a new seasonal pond created and coxwell gravel added to a 40 metre section of the footpath. With considerable help from Microbee, a local pest control services and environmental management company, nest boxes for birds, bats, bees and hedgehogs were installed.
With the help of Microbee, and volunteers from the Green Project at Richmond University, WERA constructed the seasonal pond opposite the new tennis courts. The pond is surrounded by a meadow area laid with wildflower turf and sown with wildflower seeds.
In addition, the nearby areas in front of the garages, as well as smaller areas along the Trail, were sown with wildflower seeds. An evergreen hedge, consisting of 120 young trees, was planted in front of the garages to screen them.