Years for recovery

A BOTANIST who wrote a book about Hemingford Meadow believes it will be 10 years before marks left by a recent waterways festival will be completely healed. The Inland Waterways Festival was held on the meadow over the August Bank Holiday weekend and, due

A BOTANIST who wrote a book about Hemingford Meadow believes it will be 10 years before marks left by a recent waterways festival will be completely healed.

The Inland Waterways Festival was held on the meadow over the August Bank Holiday weekend and, due to bad weather, churned up the muddy ground.

Bridget Smith, author of The Great Meadow, said: "I believe it will be five years before the field will return to normal and another five on top before no marks will be visible from the air."

However, Mrs Smith was pragmatic about the future of the meadow, saying the event would go down in its history.

She said: "The ground will need rolling and will have to be carefully monitored but it will return to normal and the event will go down as a major chapter in the meadow's history."

Mrs Smith also believes that the Inland Waterways Festival was in danger of being abandoned if more rain had fallen.

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"In some ways the organisers of the event were very unlucky - and in others they were lucky," Mrs Smith said. "They were unlucky that the meadow flooded for the first time in many, many years and also unlucky that it rained on the Thursday before the weekend when everywhere else in the country was dry.

"Equally, they were fortunate that the weather turned for the better on Saturday or the whole event could have been abandoned.

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