Marsh & Micklefield Community Ranger Project

by | Sep 23, 2019 |

2018 saw the launch of an exciting partnership – Chiltern Rangers working together with Marsh & Micklefield Big Local to create a dedicated Ranger role for the area.  Community Ranger John’s role allows him to work with residents and community groups to create and deliver projects in urban spaces as well as in the woods, meadows and chalk streams we have in Marsh and Micklefield.  These aim to benefit both the community and nature and to help reinforce a sense of local distinctiveness, collective pride and our connection to place.  

At our initial community consultation meetings residents suggested a range of brilliant ideas to provide a framework for the project. Since then we have been working on these with more to come in the future.

We have held river walks and rubbish clearance days in the Wye and Backstream, Orchid walks in Gomm’s Wood and guided walks through Highfield Woods, community litter picks and also several conservation events at Funges Meadow.  Local young people have been helping create more sculptures for the Trail in Gomm’s Wood and we have done sessions involving photography, filming and sound recording throughout the area.

Working alongside local volunteers, schools, and community groups is an important part of the role. For example, we have had children from Ash Hill School working on chalk grassland restoration in the snow and helping volunteers ‘BioBlitz’ in the rain, the Boommfutures group helping at our annual Fiery Scrub Bash and at the Library Garden and groups such as Mama Bee, NCS, Parents as First Teachers and Ilm2Amal who have had sessions learning about, exploring and working in local habitats.  There is also ongoing work at the Wright’s Meadow Centre where we have created space for wildflowers, planted trees and, with the help of Dan Wilson, created the wonderful ‘Shadows of the Meadow’ mural.

Wildflower planting and seed sowing proved to be the most popular idea that came out of the consultation meetings and with the help of local volunteers we have been creating wildflower mini-meadows – these urban, pollinator-friendly spaces are hugely important.  Over time they develop into beautiful places and help provide life-support for many invertebrates, birds and mammals.  The planting up of these spaces creates important ‘stepping-stones’ of habitat, making new wildlife sites and helping to connect existing areas of grassland.  They are of benefit to both people and place!

We will be doing lots more over the coming months so please keep an eye on the Marsh & Micklefield Big Local and Chiltern Rangers websites and social media pages to find out where and when.