Bringing Wildlife Closer to Home
The name Sudbury Meadow was originally used to describe all the land between Crosshall Road and the River Great Ouse, which belonged to the Manor of Sudbury, situated at the crossroads at the top of the hill. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, the Manor of Sudbury seems to have declined after the death of John, son of William de Sudbury, during 1333. Two portions of the original meadow lands were enclosed by the seventeenth century; the present Cavendish Court site and the site of the present Sudbury Meadow. This can be clearly seen on the enclosure map of 1799, when the site is under the name of Reynolds. It appears that the site was used for grazing until the late 1980s. Photos exist in St Neots Museum, which suggest that the then owners of Sudbury Meadow, who lived at 6 Crosshall Road, allowed the field to be used for community events during the 1930s. The last animals to use the field were several ponies and a donkey.
The site was left untouched for several years whilst planning permission was sought, by Taywood Homes, for the adjacent plot of land. As part of that plan a Section 106 was imposed to take the site into Huntingdonshire District Council ownership. This was eventually implemented on 31st May 2001.
Huntingdonshire District Council officers were keen to do something a little different with the site and help to fulfil their commitments within Cambridgeshire’s Biodiversity Action Plan at the same time. In early 2001, proposals to retain and enhance the wildlife habitat of the site and create a garden-wildlife awareness area were accepted. St Neots Town Council were asked to select a name and 'Sudbury Meadow' was reborn!
Friends of Sudbury Meadow has managed the site since 2001, on behalf of Huntingdonshire District Council. A dedicated team of volunteers has planted a small orchard, created three wildlife-friendly gardens, planted a small native shrubbery and put in hours of work annually to maintain everything, all for the love of wildlife!