Earls Colne Millennium Green is in Earls Colne, Colchester, Essex.
Earls Colne is one of the largest Greens- around 12 acres, with a pond and a brook running through it. Wildlife habitats include significant woodland, water and grassland with lizards, grass snakes and kingfishers etc.
The Green is situated just off the A1124 Colchester to Halstead road with entrances in Halstead Road and De Vere Road.
History of the Green Edit
The Green was an initiative of the Earls Colne Parish Council and the near 12 acre site was acquired in 1999. Funding for its purchase and creation came from generous donations by local residents and the business community, from national and regional organisations and from the Millennium Commission of the National Lottery.
The Green is managed by the Earls Colne Millennium Green Trust- a registered charity run by local people on a voluntary basis. They are supported in this task by other volunteers (Friends of the Green) who help to carry out maintenance work, improvements and fund raising.
Description of SiteEdit
Many different habitats have been created on the Green to support a rich diversity of wild life.
Grassland & LizardsEdit
The grassland area has a number of paths and the grass at the top of the Green is kept short for recreational purposes. The rest is managed as a hay meadow sown with a mixture of native grasses and wildflower seeds. In late Spring and Summer one can see ox-eye daisy , common vetch, cowslip, buttercup, scabious, orange hawkweed and meadow cranesbill, to name but some. There is also a colony of common lizards, transferred to the Green from a building development site in Halstead. Habitats were created for them around the Green from wood piles, corrugated iron strips, old bricks and hay mounds.
The woodland area comprises native tree species, mainly in small copses. Many were planted and dedicated by local people and a specially produced Dedication Book is on view in Earls Colne Library. The main tree species are oak, hornbeam, ash, wild cherry and small leaved lime interspersed with smaller shrubby species like hazel, dogwood, guelder rose and blackthorn. The oak trees in the lower meadow have been grown from acorns from the Honywood Oak- a famous 700 year old tree which can be found at nearby Marks Hall. The larger wooded area in the middle of the Green was part of a set-aside scheme planted by the former land owner. At its upper edge , another habitat has been specially created to attract a large variety of invertebrate species. The interpretation board at this site gives more detail.
The Green is bordered on two sides by native hedges. The one running alongside the main road is a mature hedge which includes hawthorn, hazel and elm and requires periodic maintenance to control the spread of Dutch elm disease. The northern boundary hedge was planted in 1999 and is a mixture of native species including hazel, hawthorn, dog rose and field maple. This hedge is managed traditionally to provide valuable habitat that will especially benefit declining species of farmland birds such as the yellowhammer.
Bourne Brook & PondEdit
Bourne Brook runs the width of the Green, bisecting it from east to west. The pond was constructed on the course of the Bourne Brook by the Environment Agency, and it serves two purposes. Firstly it reduces the peak flow at times of flooding on the river by acting as a temporary storage tank, and secondly it provides another valuable area for wildlife. The habitat here creates opportunities for many types of flora and fauna to flourish. One can see kingfishers, different types of dragonfly, grass snakes, water voles and even the occasional otter. Growing around the edge of the pond are species of damp loving trees. These include elder, willow and native black poplar. The shallow, open nature of the pond also makes it an ideal location for fish to breed. On its opposite bank is an area of just over an acre which has been left deliberately unmanaged to encourage even more species of plant, animal and invertebrate life.
Top Half and Millennium FeatureEdit
On the top half of the Green is an adventure trail and swings for children and there is also the interesting 'Arrow of Time', which is a human sundial.
For those making use of the Green a number of benches and picnic tables are located around the Green, which makes a longer stay the more enjoyable.
Fundraising & SponsorshipEdit
The Trust is responsible for raising the funding for the ongoing costs related to the maintenance of the Green.
Each September we have a low key type of Open Day and Village Picnic. There are donkey rides for the children, a bouncy castle, a few stalls and a raffle. Sometimes we have a nature trail. It's mainly to remind residents that it's there
For 2013 it will be on the afternoon of 1st September from 1.00 pm to 4.00 pm.
Nearest Millennium Greens Edit