Our Wildlife FieldThe field is managed to encourage local wildlife and bio-diversity.
A Year In Our Wildlife Field (2016)
As our wildlife field is a properly managed habitat the field had been ‘put to bed’ the previous autumn to await the coming of spring. Our volunteers began weeding and tending the “bonfire” beds when the ground started to warm up. Frogs began spawning in the pond at the end of February, which necessitated the removal of the netting.
In March a working party cleared an enormous amount of scrub and unwanted trees from the ditch between the plots and the field, a vast improvement to this area. The hawthorn and blackthorn provided a fine show of blossom, but the hazel failed to manage a crop of catkins. There were sightings of a thrush on the field. The meadow continued to improve in quality that supported sprouting yellow meadow ant nests which in turn attracted green woodpeckers. In April, there was a noticeable growth across the meadow when it was time to start mowing the paths.
Ten lots of frogspawn appeared and lots of tadpoles emerged. Two Mallards adopted the pond and laid an egg. Hard work began concentrated on dead plants cleared, areas weeded and new edges to the bonfire beds cut prior for new plants. As the year progressed it was clear to see that we have seen the benefits of steadily adding to the biodiversity of the meadows over the last five years and the wildlife field had interest, colour and variety from early spring through to late autumn. Cow parsley, meadow foxtail grass and meadow buttercup provided a good show and this year had competed against several species of camassias, fritillaries, Danes violet (purple and white, and a scarlet geum, Mrs. J Bradshaw. Ox-eye daisies, birds foot trefoil, greater knapweed flowered in the meadow and a host of summer and early autumn flowering plants provided a fine sight in the herbaceous beds.
The grass, scrub and meadow areas were machine cut (brush cutter with shredder blade) in October, and then golden yellow rattle seed was sown. The lavender circle was half-cleared of mature plants, and young lavenders planted. The second half will be cleared and replanted winter 17/18. The old lavender plants were transplanted just outside the hall entrance. A selection of mature perennial plugs were planted either side of the ‘Brexit’ path. Leaves have been collected to generate leaf mould for 2018.