You may remember we asked for your care while we improved the Thames Path which runs through Little Meadow. We are pleased to report that the improvements are now complete.

The meadow is owned by The Anne Carpmael Trust, the smaller of our riverside reserves. In winter, the ground beneath the kissing gate at the Goring end of the meadow became a soggy puddle of squelchy mud and the path through the meadow itself offered walkers the challenge of staying upright on its slippery surface.

The path became ever more braided as people tried to find safe ground and as the path began to widen, the meadow became narrower and narrower. So, the Withymead team needed a solution.

Step up the Trust for Oxfordshire Environment (TOE) . Following many site meetings with themselves, Oxford County Council Highways the Environment Agency and Thames Path National Trail we gradually put together a plan to improve the path surface.  The works were substantially funded by a grant from the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE) with funding from Grundon Waste Management Ltd through the Landfill Communities Fund. In addition, the grant was partially match funded by the Thames Path National Trail.

Their generosity allowed us to engage local contractors, ND Build & Refurbishments, who re-engineered the path across all 180m of the meadow. The work spanned two weeks in July. It involved taking out 70 tons of spoil and replacing it with 80 tons of foundation material laid on a geotextile membrane and overlaid with limestone dust which hardens to produce a stable, durable surface. The path has been seriously tested with recent unremitting rain and has not yet floated away.

We are delighted with the result. The path looks nicely natural, and the edges will soften as it settles into its surroundings. Neal and his team have done a wonderful job creating the path for us and improving the drainage at the Goring end of the meadow.  The work has allowed us to strengthen links with Goring Fishing Club who have several fishing pegs at Little Meadow. Following completion, the Fishing Club offered a generous donation of £2,000 towards funding, for which we are very grateful. We plan to work together in the future to maintain the path and to protect the wildlife which thrives here.