Malster’s Little Field

Buying the field – The PondWild-flower plots

Having successfully raised the funds to purchase Grove Piece (Blyth Woods first land acquisition) we looked covetously at the neighbouring field that could link up with the nearby public footpath. Malster’s Little Field was being farmed by Roger Desborough but was an awkward shape to farm using modern methods of machinery. So we approached Roger, after all nothing ventured, nothing gained. To our great delight he agreed to sell the 1.6 acre plot and it was not long before a deal was negotiated, subject to raising the necessary funds.

This time the Blyth Woods trustees decided to engage a professional fund raiser, namely, SJW Fundraising Consultants Ltd. They have a comprehensive database to identify donors mainly, in this case, trusts and foundations. And lo and behold donations came thick and fast from the following (in order of receipt):

         JP Marland Charitable Trust

         Fitzmaurice Trust

         Lord Belstead Charitable Trust

         Alfred Williams Charitable Trust

         Fitton Trust

         Martin Wills Wildlife Trust

         The Swire Charitable Trust

         Aquarius Charitable Trust

         Banister Charitable Trust

         Geoffrey Burton Trust

         WF Southall Trust

         Garfield Weston Trust

         Frognal Trust

         Prince of Wales Charitable Trust

Alongside the efforts of SJW, Blyth Woods itself raised funds, in particular with a vegetarian starters and puddings evening and an auction of promises. This event raised an amazing £2,500 plus and it is gratifying to have such a tangible sign of support from the local community. More details of this event and other fund raising can be found elsewhere on this website.

These combined efforts meant that sufficient funds were available in half the expected time to purchase the land and fund the immediate maintenance matters we had identified. And we haven’t allowed the grass to grow beneath our feet as can be witnessed on this website. Malster’s Little Field is already competing with Grove Piece for the number of saplings planted.

Do visit this newly acquired land to see how it is already developing thanks to so many generous donors and to the volunteers turning it into a community open space for all to enjoy.

Wild Flower plots

We are hoping to encourage a more diverse flora in Malsters’s Little Field. Alan Miller mowed four plots earlier in the year and since then they have been mown again. Each time the cut grass has been raked off. This helps to decrease the fertility of the soil which weakens the vigorous grasses and gives other plants a chance. Two of the plots will be left to regenerate naturally and the other two have been sown with wild flower seed obtained locally mostly from field edges and roadside verges close to the woods

Marie and Alan carried out a survey of the existing plants in the four plots so that we can see what changes take place.

Plot surveys
Plot 1 Control
Bristly oxtonguePicris echlioides
RagwortSenicio jacobea
Spear thistleCirsium vulgare
Wild oatArena fatua
Tall fescueFestuca arundinacea
OakQuercus robur
Creeping buttercupRanunculus repens
Rosebay willow herbChamaenerion angustifolium
Plot 2 Seeded with additions
Bristly oxtonguePicris echlioides
Rosebay willow herbChamaenerion angustifolium
Spear thistleCirsium vulgare
Wild oatArena fatua
Dog RoseRosa canina
DandelionTaraxacum officinale
Field mapleAcer campestre
Hornbeam Carpinus betulus
CocksfootDactylis glomerata
Perennial ryeLolium perenne
Additions to Plot 2
Ox eye daisyChrysanthemum leucanthemum
Yellow rattleRhinanthus minor
Common MallowMalva sylvetris
Red CloverTrifolium pratense
Ribwort plantainPlantago lanceolata
KnapweedCentaurea major
White CampionSilene alba
CowslipPrimula Veris
Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Plot 3 Control
DandelionTaraxacum officinale
Bristly oxtonguePicris echlioides
Rosebay willow herbChamaenerion angustifolium
Wild oatArena fatua
Perennial ryeLolium perenne
Annual meadow grassPoa annua
HogweedHeraceum sphondylium
Plot 4 Seeded with additions
Wild oatArena fatua
Creeping thistleCirsium arvense
Bristly oxtonguePicris echlioides
Creeping buttercupRanunculus repens
Curled DockRumex crispus
Doves foot cranesbillGeranium molle
Rosebay willow herbChamaenerion angustifolium
Hoary willowherbEpilobium parviflorum
Cow parsleyAnthriscus sylvestris
Additions to Plot 4
Ox eye daisyChrysanthemum leucanthemum
Yellow rattleRhinanthus minor
Common MallowMalva sylvetris
Red CloverTrifolium pratense
Ribwort plantainPlantago lanceolata
KnapweedCentaurea major
White CampionSilene alba
CowslipPrimula Veris
Yarrow Achillea millefolium

Restoring the pond in Malster’s

Although there are 22,000 ponds in Suffolk, some 70% are neglected or overgrown and have limited wildlife value.  However, restored, they can be of immense ecological value and become real jewels in the landscape. Later this autumn will see the restoration of the large pond in Little Malsters Field. Currently the pond is overshadowed with trees and is choked with reed mace and common reed and heavily silted as a result of years of accumulated leaf litter.  Members of the group will clear the invading willow scrub and a contractor will desilt the pond using a large excavator then spread the spoil on the adjacent land. Initially the area will look like a scene of devastation with mud liberally spread but, come the spring, new life will emerge as dormant seeds grow and the area of open water will become a magnet for dragonflies and other aquatic life. 

The pond as it is now.