Cows grazing on the green
Bullock grazing on watercress
The undisturbed meadowland found today on Pipe Green has come about due to a number of factors;
  • continuous grazing of Pipe Green since medieval times
  • lack of ploughing
  • lack of artificial fertilizers.

Today, the aim of the Pipe Green Trust is to maintain this rare ecological habitat. To help achieve this Pipe Green, since 2006, has received funding from DEFRA under the Higher Level Stewardship scheme for maintaining a species-rich, semi-natural grassland (meadows or pasture). The main points of the management plan are:

cattle grazing – This is the most important factor in maintaining the meadowland habitat. The cattle control the grasses that would otherwise dominate whilst allowing the wild flowers to proliferate. They also trample small thistle and form gaps in the vegetation that allow seedlings to grow. The cow pats are also important for invertebrate life and allow nutrients to be fed back into the soil. This is why, if you visit the Green between May and October, you will see 12 - 18 cattle happily grazing.

control of undesirable species – Creeping thistle as well as ragwort, common nettle and Himalayan balsam are the main undesirable species found on the Green. To control these, a number of work parties are held to manually remove these species. In addition, the Green is usually mechanically cut in late July to stimulate new growth of grasses.

no application of artificial fertilizer – No artifical fertilizers must be applied to the Green and the soil should have a Soil Phosphate Index of 0 or 1.

clearing of Leomansley Brook – In the summer months watercress grows in profusion in the Brook. In order to maintain a water flow along the stream, a number of work parties are held in early Autumn to remove the watercress, as well as some of the clumps of grasses that form.

maintenance of rushes and wetland area – Near the stream, the ground is much wetter and is composed mainly of rush and damp-loving plants. This area of rush cover is maintained to provide a habitat for wading birds e.g. snipe.

removal of scrub – Scrub should be removed from the Green, especially on the site of the lead water conduit pipe that runs from the Maple Hayes estate to the Cathedral Close. This is an archeological feature and could be badly damaged by scrub.