The following are sponsors of Rye Meadows. We are very grateful to all these sponsors as without their help, be it equipment or funding, we would not have been able to achieve all the improvements we have managed since we started the project. These are in no special order.
Ashtead Plant Hire is one of our major sponsors. It provides equipment for free and all we need pay is the insurance cost and the diesel fuel.
We do need to employ a certified driver with his own insurance to use the machines, but the free hire saves us considerable sums. We have used diggers and dumpers to widen the banks, create berms and recently (July and August 2016) to create ponds and scrapes in the Centenary Field.
Left we see the spoil from the new ponds being deposited from an A Plant digger to an A Plant dumper..
Community Foundation for Surrey
This group has provided funding for the new bridge across the Rye from the Preston Grove entrance. The new bridge replaced the narrow concrete bridge that had only the one hand rail, the other having collapsed into the stream a long time ago. The bridge was purchased with funds donated by the Community and installed by Surrey Rights of Way contractors. The bridge and the hard paths have made a huge difference to the access and visitors can now walk on a hard surface all the way around and across the site.
The Foundation has recently also provided a substantial sum to allow us to create ponds and scrapes in the filed now designated as a Centenary Field. It was decided on this 100th anniversary of WW1 to nominate a field as a Centenary Field to commemorate those residents of Ashtead who fell in the Great War. We are hugely indebted to the Foundation for providing these funds which have allowed us to construct a wetland area which will store water. This not only increases the biodiversity of the site but will attract wildlife, bird life and insect and amphibean life. The excavation work has now been completed but there is still some landscaping to be carried out and some larger trees to be planted. The bare earth will soon disappear as nature re-establishes itself. The added benefit of this work is the alleviation of flood risk downstream towards Leatherhead as more water will be stored upstream in times of flood.
The Lower Mole Countryside Trust
This local Trust has supported us with grants that have enabled us to buy tools used by the volunteers. In addition their volunteers have worked on the fields to remove blackthorn from the river bank allowing more light to the stream. This extra light brings back life to the Rye Brook as evidenced by the improved monitoring by the Riversearch team.
In October 2015 the Volunteers coppiced a length of hedge so that when it regrows it will eventually be layed. The final section was coppiced in the Autumn of 2016.
Chris Townsend (Surrey County Councillor)
Chris kindly made a donation from his Councillor Allocation that enabled us to but a Stihl Brushcutter/Strimmer. This has proved immensely useful in removing and keeping down blackthorn and other brush.
The Thomas Flack Trust
This Trust provided funding so we could continue the schemes to widen the brook, removing the artificially straightend lengths, creating berms and installing deflectors. This will hold back the water during flood situations providing new enviroments for wildlife and bird life whilst alleviating potential flood situations downstream.
The Barnby Trust
Some 30 years ago the meadows were part of the Barnby Estate administered by Lord Barnby who lived in Ashtead Woods Road. On his death, the fields were sold and purchased by Mr & Mrs Burnett who own them still. Ashtead Rye Meadows is Mrs Burnett's vision and she has worked tirelessly to bring her vision to fruition. The Trust has visited the Meadows and seen what we have achieved in the last 4 years and has made two generous donations to enable us to continue the work and undertake the many projects we have planned for the future.
Thanks to a generous Grant from Thames Water we have been able to undertake some key maintenance work on the Meadows. We have also used some of the Grant to buy stakes and deer netting to be erected on the borders of the Meadows where they abut the houses. This netting is light and see-through so will not impair the view from the houses but it will deter the deer from eating the new hedging shoots as they appear next Spring - and perhaps roses and other plants in the neighbours' gardens!
Another major part of the Grant from Thames Water is to enable us to install a wooden walkway in Centenary Field. This walkway will be situated about 300cms from the ground and will enable pedestrians to walk from a new pedestrian gate to the new ponds.
The walkway will be installed by volunteers from the Lower Mole Countryside Group next Spring in time, we hope, for the opening ceremony where all our sponsors will, we hope, be represented.
We also hope it will be possible to invite staff from Thames Water on a Volunteers Day where there will be plenty of work for them to do! See the drone fly-by of the Centenary Field to see where the ponds and new walkway will go.