Breakfast meeting – 17 April 2024

At this months breakfast meeting we were fortunate enough to have as speaker Chris Corcoran, who came to talk to us about the Twyford water meadows which are an historic landscape dating back to the 17th century.

Water meadows are a means of farming to maximise the benefits of the chalk stream waters being at a comparatively high temperature during the winter. With careful and fully controlled flooding this encourages the grass to grow earlier in the spring as well as providing nutrients to the soil.

Twyford Parish Council purchased 30 acres of land in the 1980s of which one acre has been restored to active water meadow status. The water meadows are flooded for several days to achieve the desired effect. The process is fairly labour-intensive hence the limited area being actively managed in this way. Interestingly after purchase it was discovered that most of the 17th century engineering was still in good order and functioning although the brickwork and sluices clearly needed to be replaced/restored. The plan shows the way in which water meadows ‘work’.

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