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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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