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Frequently asked Questions
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Frequently asked questions
Have you got a question for us? You might find the answer to some of our most frequently asked questions here.
What special animals do you have on the Water Meadows?
We have water voles (a red listed UK endangered species because they have disappeared from 94% of their former sites) living along many of the riverbank and channel-side areas and even alongside the Town Path. Some interesting birds include the kingfishers, snipe and the egrets. In addition, there is a variety of bats species and Desmoulin’s Whorl Snails which are listed as a vulnerable species.
What special plants do you have on the Water Meadows?
There are over thirty different species of grasses and sedges because most of the meadows have never been ploughed. It is only possible to appreciate the varieties in the summer when they flower. There is a range of trees in copses, hedgerows and along the edges of the river, the old crack willows being hollow and very impressive.
Do you have any invasive species that you are concerned about?
As usual with pastureland brambles, nettles, thistles and ragwort need to be managed so that they do not take over the area. Recently plants from the Balsamainaceae family sometimes appear along the water margins. We are concerned if American mink are spotted in the area because they are a serious threat to the water voles unlike the native otters. Occasionally Muntjac deer are seen on the Water Meadows but this is not yet a problem.
Who owns the Water Meadows?
The Harnham Water Meadows are owned by the Harnham Water Meadows Trust and The Dean and Chapter of Salisbury Cathedral. The HWT manages most of the 84 acres on the island.
Why can’t people have unrestricted access to the Meadows?
The area is a working farm with sheep grazing it for most of the year, just as they have done for hundreds of years. It is also a conservation area with parts of it designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Unfortunately, even with the present limited access volunteers regularly remove large amounts of rubbish that have got on to the area (much blown on to it or thrown from the Town Path even though plenty of bins have been provided) from people and the river.
Can I have access to canoe, paddleboard, picnic, take photos or walk my dog?
Access is by arrangement with the Trustees and volunteers who look after the Meadows. There is the opportunity to visit when there are public open days or events and tours are provided for groups. Public events are advertised on the HWMT website and the noticeboards on the Town Path and at Rose Cottage.