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Dear All,


Our last open meeting was in February, since then we have all had to work our way through a very strange time, hard for everyone and very difficult for some of us. As the restrictions begin to be relaxed I do hope you are all now looking forward to a more normal life in future.

HDC logoAs more shops are allowed to reopen on Monday 15 June plans have been announced by Huntingdon District Council to make changes in St Ives, as well as the other market towns in the district. Parking in their car parks remains free for now. In St Ives on road parking is being reduced in Market Hill, The Pavement and Bridge Street. This is to allow on pavement queues for shops and pedestrians will use coned off strips of road. The markets in St Ives are all being moved into the Cattle Market, this will allow a wider selection of stalls to be present.

Full details can be found on the HDC Website at:


https://www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/council-democracy/reopening-our-towns/shop-local-shop-safe/#TAP


Individual town plans are at the bottom of the page.

 

The Commitee has continued to meet using video conferencing. At our meeting last Tuesday I reported that the prospective developer of the London Road car showroom site was offering to gift the Town Council a plot of land adjacent to the New Bridges to use as a car park. The intention being to reduce on street parking on London Road. The developer’s covering letter is included in the Agenda for the Full Council Meeting on Wednesday 10 June.


Map of proposed car parkThe developer included a plan of the site, it is bordered by the New Bridges, and the track to Filbert’s Walk footpath. The northern boundary marks the route of the St Ives to Huntingdon railway line. The land is part of Hemingford Meadow, it is flooded whenever the river level rises. The Committee agreed I should object to this proposal. On the night I was not alone, there were two other objections. I’m pleased to say that after a very long discussion the Town Council was ‘not minded to continue the discussion’.

 

Hemingford MeadowHemingford Meadow is one of the very attractive features of the Great Ouse valley. It is important in many ways, Bridget Smith, for five years the Chairman of the Society, was trained as a horticulturist. She was appointed a Meadow Reeve (a historic position to monitor the overgrazing of the meadow and monitor activities on the meadow) by Hemingford Grey Parish Council and led trips on the Electric Boat from The Quay in St Ives. My wife and I were lucky enough to experience her enthusiasm and knowledge on one of these trips.

 

One of our members, Ian Dobson, has written a poem in her memory and this commentary on the changing flora as the seasons unfold.

A Tribute - Great Meadow beside the Great Ouse - June 2020

 

FlowersOf flowers wild
on Lammas meadow long and wide
and St Ives' fabulous riverside
many of us
we surely owe
much of what we know
to dear Bridget Smith.

Whose memory
we hold dear
at this time of year.

 

 

Flowering Rush at the water's edge

 

 
Hemingford Great Meadow and its meadow's edge walks are a delight at all times of the year.
 
But delight gives way to excitement when in May a carpet of buttercups appears that overlays the meadow, as far as eyes can see.  Now in June this bright yellow abundance makes way for subtler hues and a profusion of water-meadow plants, grasses and flowers.  We can count among them yellow hayrattle, yellow-orange birds-foot trefoil, lilac cuckoo flower and red clover.  These are typical of flood meadows managed for hay.  Look close and you will also spy deep-red great burnet and creamy white meadowsweet.  Look closer still and you may even glimpse bright-blue skullcap.
 
In July this Lammas meadow will give up its hay.  But not before fading plants drop their seed, so next year's spectacular display is guaranteed.
 
The timing is good, because now the focus can move from Great Meadow to Great Ouse.  The joy in July and August of the meadow's river-bank and water's-edge riot of colour is there for all to share.  Whether walking on the bank or by Electric Boat trip from St Ives Quay.  In May and June yellow flag had already delighted the eye.  But now it's the patches of purple-loosestrife and pinkish-purple willowherb and the flotillas of yellow water lily that will capture our attention.  And there are other striking flowers like red balsam, marsh woundwort, woody nightshade and hemp agrimony.  My favourites, at the water's edge, are branched bur-reed and flowering rush.  Like others I would not have got to appreciate these but for Bridget Smith's expert and ever friendly guidance.
 
Ian Dobson
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We look forward to seeing you at one of our events over the coming year.

Kind regards,

David Stewart
Chair: Civic Society of St Ives