River Cray – Stop Look Listen

When you are next along the River Cray between Five Arches and Water Lane you might notice last winter’s Chalk Stream Restoration Work a Thames21 project. Why not Stop Look and listen, you will see what still looks a bit raw, grey and strange, that some trees have been hinged or cut then secured in the river channel. This is standard practice for re naturalising our urbanised Chalk Stream ‘The River Cray’. The purpose is to naturally recreate the river flow variety of a chalk stream enhancing the habitat with some gouging of the river bed or shallow pools. Listen and you will hear the river, yes it’s a ‘babbling brook’ again and this variety to the river channel is good for the health of the river and the wildlife living in and beside a river. Here you may see that fish do live in trees.

Hopefully some silt will be trapped in the wooden features and encourage the growth of marginal plants and the colours of a river bank will return. Yes these trees in rivers will also trap rubbish but better our volunteers remove the plastic at this site than it continue on its journey into the Thames Estuary and eventually the Ocean.

Our Members will have received additional information on this project through our newsletter.

For more on this project and to learn about Chalk Streams use the links below.

River Cray: Craywatch – Thames21     

CaBA Chalk Stream Restoration Strategy Consultation – CaBA (catchmentbasedapproach.org)

Michael Heath 25 May 2021

Examples below of the work at River Cray Foots Cray Meadows

Bluebells in the Woods

After the lakeside drama in last week’s post we take a quiet stroll into North Cray Woods, where you will see that you do not have to drive to a National Trust site to find the delights of a carpet of bluebells carpeting the spring time woodland. We have our own beautiful blooming bluebell experience,  hopefully to be enjoyed this weekend after the rain has eased up.

Picture North Cray Woods 7th May 2021- Michael

Perils of Fishing Litter

A springtime reminder of the hazards facing wildlife on the Meadows when people get too close. In this case the perils of fishing litter returned to the Five Arches this week when a Canada Goose became mortally entangled and wounded by fishing line and tackle. This distress and injury to the bird was reported to the RSPCA and Bexley Council. The only outcome was for a specialist equipped RCPCA team to attend, dispatch and recover the body of the goose.

This sad incident is a reminder to us all to respect the Natural Environment, not to disturb the wildlife, to take our litter home and why fishing is prohibited at Foots Cray Meadows; with the lake being a Local Nature Reserve.  Neither is the lake a safe place for people to swim or jump into.

Funded entirely from public donations the RSPCA is the UK’s largest animal welfare charity and is known to most of us. With the very high demands on their services we are grateful that the RSPCA were able to attend and assist at Foots Cray Meadows.

Picture RSPCA Inspector Mitchell Smith especially equipped for waterfowl rescue at the Five Arches, Foots Cray Meadows.

Michael Heath Chair FFCM 30th April 2021

River Works on Meadows

Following a recent site inspection to Foots Cray Meadows, in the lead-up to Thames 21’s project to undertake works to the river, Bexley have identified an area of woodland that needs to temporarily close. This area has suffered from significant erosion and is virtually impassable due to fallen trees and they have already instructed their team fencing contractor to undertake fencing works to direct site users and when installed Bexley will be erecting temporary signage to advise.

Friends Website

The Friends were set up in June 2006 in order to protect Foots Cray Meadows, a magnificent mixture of landscaped open space, Meadows and Woodland covering an area of 97 hectares (240 acres) which has survived development from the urban sprawl of London. It is an important site to many local people and visitors alike and deserves our protection. 

The Friends have developed the following aims and objectives in order to achieve this:

· Working in partnership with London Borough of Bexley to encourage public interest in, and the conservation of Foots Cray Meadows (FCM).

· To protect the wildlife and its habitat within FCM.

· To provide a focus for involvement by the community and users in the open space, to volunteer and work with the Council, in the conservation of  FCM and its development as a public open space.

· To advance the public’s awareness of the open space by promoting FCM its plants, wildlife, landscape, sustainability and supporting appropriate recreational facilities for the benefit of community groups and the general public.

· To develop and deliver information, interpretive material and educational opportunities for FCM

· To raise funds for the purpose of achieving the above aims.

Do bear with us we are updating this website and will be back soon with some new information.

You can contact the friends by e mail ffcm06@gmail.com