Our grateful thanks go to the park’s tenant farmer. He has done us proud. This year he has taken a new approach; he has broken the park up into a patchwork so that while the three big fields were cut for silage in May, the rest was cut for haymaking in June. This left large areas of sanctuary for butterflies and other nectar feeders, and for the species that feed on nectar feeders.
The butterflies were surveyed between the two cuts and those who walked the transect said: “Crossing the bridge into Village Green, you could see the difference straight away: hundreds of meadow browns…”
He used lighter machinery, some of it delightfully old fashioned, which saves wear and tear on the park’s gateways and has much less impact on the soil structure. He has left wide verges and corners uncut so that wildflowers will have time to seed there, and the eggs of those invertebrates that lay in and on grass will have time to hatch.
Yes, the Countryside Team had to give permission for the ragwort to be sprayed but it was done with a low impact herbicide that most wildflowers have survived and that does not seem to have reduced the count of flying insects at all. The orchids bloomed in Village Green as usual and the dragonflies and damselflies have prospered this year. In return, he has offered to drill wildflower seed into one of the fields, an offer that has some members of FoSCP wildly excited.
Now, let’s match the efforts he has made for the sake of the park: let’s show our thanks by turning out, when the time is right, to pull the remaining ragwort before it seeds and spoils his next year’s crop. Keep an eye on the website for details and arm yourself with sturdy gloves.
header by Ian B
baler by SMH
butterflies and wide verges by DKG