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Friday, April 11, 2008

Conservation of wild flower meadows

Here are some photos from the field described below.
They show the Bee Orchid,Common Blue butterfly, Field Scabious and Yellow Rattle.

We are hoping to see a new local nature reserve created on a grass meadow. This kind of landscape is becoming rare here due to the usual culprits of intensive agriculture and urban development. We have the support of the Wildlife Trust and the following note has been sent for publication in our local news paper as part of our efforts to get the support of the community.

A new nature reserve

I am very hopeful that we will eventually see the Council adopt part of the unimproved wild flower meadow as a nature reserve. This means that part of this open unspoilt field will be managed in future to maximise the already rich flora and fauna. Two species of wild orchid are already well established. This autumn, we can start the process of restraining the stronger growing grasses to encourage an increasing number of wild flowers. One way we hope to do this is by spreading Yellow Rattle seed.


Here is a description of this interesting plant:

Yellow Rattle Rhinanthus Minor

Flowering season June-august

Height 10-50cm

Yellow rattle needs sowing in the autumn and in amongst grass.

It can help weaken existing grasses which may leave room for other wildflower species to flourish.

Yellow rattle is an annual it is also a parasitic plant, which will not survive unless sown amongst grass. Ideally sow it in the autumn, once established it will self seed readily.


A proposed walkway round the field should be agreed in time for visitors in 2009 making it easier to get close to this natural landscape.

On the southern boundary in the adjoining field, a new 200 yard long hedge has just been planted with volunteer help. This new hedge contains 7 different native species such as Wayfarer Tree, Field Maple and Spindle, all attractive to wildlife and this will become a major feature of both fields.

The adjoining field is also being managed as a wild flower meadow and the two areas will be complementary in their ecological value.

Last summer fifteen species of butterfly were seen in the fields and hedges.

The need for sporting opportunities has not been ignored. With the encouragement of a local running club it is hoped to base a new junior running and fitness group at the field, making use of the track around the field and the existing recreation ground. As a member of the club with some relevant experience I am supporting this proposal and welcome your involvement.

It was very encouraging to see so many replies to the Questionnaire in favour of the reserve. Now, with the plans taking shape, more help is needed to make this a new important feature of the village.

If you would like more information or can offer to help in any way please call me.