Local Nature Reserve
Stone Meadows Local Nature Reserve is made up of three separate meadows next to the river Trent as it flows past Stone.
Crown Meadow is already a well-known and well-used wildlife site at the heart of Stone. In partnership with Stone Town Council we are aiming to make a number of enhancements to the meadow which will increase its wildlife value. Over recent years, wildflower seed has been sown on the main field, which is managed as a hay meadow. We hope to restore the flora of a traditional flood plain meadow to the site to make it more pleasant and wildlife-friendly. Stone Town Council has recently added an attractive new information sign at the main entrance.
Formerly referred to as the Northern Meadow, much of the meadow is low lying and contains archaeologically improved in the past, and botanical diversity is not sufficient for SBI status. The meadow is bisected by a railway line which runs roughly north-east to the south-west through the centre of the site on a large embankment, recently strengthened by Network Rail.
The meadow is an area of flat, relatively low-lying ground on the River Trent flood plain. The predominant vegetation types are improved and semi-improved grassland, but the southern and western edges of the meadow provide greater botanical interest. There is a diverse area of wet woodland that has developed around two small ponds in the south western corner of the meadow. Willow and alder are the dominant tree species in this area, which contains a variety of other wetland plant species including common bistort, water mint, marsh marigold and water horsetail. Around the woodland is a spreading area of wet grassland, which contains plant species such as cuckooflower, meadowsweet, marsh woundwort and runs from higher ground to the south of the site. By the time it reaches Southern Meadow water flow is almost entirely underground. This phenomenon provides a very wet grassland habitat just to the south of the wet woodland.
- To enhance the grassland habitats on both meadows, by encouraging a greater floral diversity.
- To maintain and enhance, and where possible create or restore, wetland features.
- To ensure that all hedgerows on the meadows are managed appropriately to provide maximum wildlife benefit and, where necessary, stock proof boundaries.
- To maintain and enhance the populations of notable species, such as native black poplars, snipe and barn owls.
- To enhance the educational value of the site and increase the number of educational visitors.
- To contribute towards achieving the aims, objectives and targets that are identified in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, the Staffordshire Biodiversity Action Plan and the Stafford Borough Biodiversity Strategy.