Monthly Archives: January 2021

Wild Flower Meadow?

Look at the Field in winter and it’s hard to believe it’s the same place where the short video on the WILDLIFE page of this website was shot. (If you haven’t looked at it yet, take 5 minutes to visit that page before reading on – it will inspire you!)

There’s now a plan afoot to turn part of the Field into an ‘old-fashioned’ meadow planted with native wild flowers.

A survey of land in the LCC area has identified Miss Whalley’s Field as having the best potential in the area for a wild flower meadow. The Friends were asked to meet with a consultant from Natural England to discuss possibilities…………….

The area between the two benches has been identified as best for the project because of its orientation and open aspect.

It also has the advantage that it shouldn’t affect our efforts to improve drainage of the Field for Access purposes, and it doesn’t interfere with our newly planted ‘Jean Argles Wood’ (which we hope will be springing into life again in a few weeks).

Soil samples have been taken in the chosen area to check what changes are needed. Weirdly, wild flowers thrive best on poor soil so it’s not a case of applying fertilisers; it’s a case of clearing the ground and reducing the nutrition in the soil! Apparently that’s how to get the best displays of meadow flowers.

The proposal is to start by planting plugs of native wild flowers in the rough grassy area near the second bench. This area would potentially then be extended, probably over several years, towards the first bench (by Derwent Road).

We shall need lots of regular help from volunteers…………

LCC has agreed to act as a focus, organising work days to cut the grass short. The first thing we are likely to need is more volunteers who have been trained to use a scythe – safely!

Why not volunteer and learn this ancient and useful skill, completely free? We can provide tuition and equipment. Just contact

The next vital job is to remove all the cut material so it does not fertilise the ground; more volunteers will be needed for this.

Then the plug plants can be put in.

It is probable that this process will need to be completed several times each year to ensure that the small plants do not get smothered by rapidly growing grass. This will probably be an on-going task for several years as we plant the whole meadow area.

Before all this can happen, Natural England’s consultant will produce a draft plan for Miss Whalley’s Field. We shall have an opportunity to comment on this before things start in earnest in the Spring.

Watch this space for updates!

In the meantime have a look at this great article in the Guardian. Click on:  Flower Power



2020 started with enthusiastic members joining a working party to add more tree mats to protect the newly planted trees, clear vegetation and prune some of the willow (to produce more flowers for insects).

Then the virus struck and since then all jobs on the Field have had to be Covid compliant. This put paid to our regular community activities such as working parties, the Bonfire, summer picnics, litter picking parties etc. Nevertheless, the Friends group has certainly not been idle and much has been achieved, working closely with our ever-helpful contacts at Lancaster City Council.

Work on the Memorial Garden by pupils of Lancaster Central High School came to a halt in March. However we were delighted to be offered support by United Utilities and Sapphire Utility Solutions. They lowered the raised manhole by the Memorial stone and completed the garden, which now looks very smart.

Of course our usual Remembrance Day activities at the Memorial Stone could not take place but we were very pleased that local schools were able to arrange their own small Remembrance Day services. 

Now that the garden is finally completed, all we have to do now is keep it in good order and create a planting plan. The Memorial is the primary focus on the Field and it is important that we keep it looking good all year.

Local residents have also welcomed the appearance of a tarmac access path connecting the Derwent Road bus stop to Keswick Road. The Friends are delighted to have been able to get this job done – at long last – and are very grateful to our partners (UU and Sapphire) who carried this out.

Our Chairperson has taken the opportunity of lockdown to polish his media skills, starring on Radio Lancashire and hosting a visit from Lancashire Life for their October edition. This is all excellent publicity for the Field. The more people who know about the history and potential of Miss Whalley’s Field the better for our future prospects.

We have also taken care to keep our website and Facebook pages up to date and looking attractive. There’s nothing worse than an out-of-date web site for giving the impression that an organisation is not active. Ours is definitely alive! In particular we are delighted to host the fantastic new video on this website’s Wildlife page. This was created by one of our members, Richard Evans. It only lasts 3 minutes but it is a spectacular and beautiful presentation of what a huge range of flowers and small wildlife exists on Miss Whalley’s Field – in summer at least!  

Several lone volunteers have kept working on the Field throughout the year. Our scything volunteers have had a chance to try their new skills clearing long grass especially around the orchard and preparing areas for seed planting. We want to encourage the spread of wild flowers across the Field to make it a really attractive place for everyone. 

Looking to the future, we want to get to grips with the chronic drainage problems on the Field. An initial survey by drone is just the first stage in a major project with UU and Sapphire which we hope will eventually create a mix of habitats on the field.

The Committee has recently updated our 3 year plan. You can have a look at this on the Management page of this website. Once we have seen the back of Covid, we look forward to carrying it out and further improving this unique local resource.

As always, we welcome new members to the e mail list and volunteers for future working parties and events. Do get in touch!