Our Wildlife FieldThe field is managed to encourage local wildlife and bio-diversity.
As we enter November, the major task of the year, cutting back the three meadow areas, is well under way. Colder nights should limit regrowth and enable planting of more herbaceous perennials, heleniums etc, to enhance the interest next summer. The team has grown to 8 or 9 regulars, which is probably the optimum number to employ meaningfully. The island beds are being cleaned and some plants removed for relocation in the meadows. this provides gaps into which new material can be introduced. The generosity of volunteers to provide new plants etc is a great benefit to our project.
The east meadows has been cut heavily, in many places poached, and this has provided spaces for many of the new plantings. The west meadow (next to the Hall) will receive similar treatment and is the next task. The central meadow will be cut more lightly and the material raked and stacked on the habitat mounds which encircle the field. This will provide sanctuary for the large number of invertebrates to survive the winter and provide a healthy and diverse population in 2018. The 2012 hedge line has now matured and requires regular management. this winter the thick hazel poles will be 50% coppiced to ground level and the cut poles available for bean supports (rather than bamboo canes).
The pond has been netted to limit the amount leaves entering. This will be removed at the end of February when frogs need easy access.
A lot remains to be done in the coming weeks, but, hopefully, by Christmas, we can reduce our activities and take it easy for a couple of months.
2018 offers much promise: will the two new butterflies - Marbled White and Small Heath - reappear; will the Greater Yellow Rattle continue to control the grasses, and so much more. Two new volunteers offered their names at rent collection. That is just about right, given our current level of loyal support.