On Thursday and Friday most of the park’s meadow grass was cut for silage; a bumper crop this year and entirely free of ragwort.
Village Green, The Triangle and Simpson’s Field will be cut later for hay. It is impossible to get modern farm machinery into these fields, instead the farmer will use old fashioned machinery and make old fashioned rectangular bales in place of round ones wrapped in plastic.
Photos by Ian Bushell
While we (and you) had many doubts about the process of spraying the park with herbicide to get rid of the ragwort, it does seem to have worked. There have been little areas where we had to dig up and carry away the few remaining ragwort plants and you may well have seen an isolated figure in a hi-viz jacket, out in the middle of a field, usually in the rain, digging stuff up with a rag-fork. That was us.
We made sure a selective herbicide was used and it seems to have done a lot less damage than we feared. We have lost some of the daisy (Asteraceae) family and the meadow buttercups took a bit of a shock in the spring, but there are still many species of wildflowers growing among the grasses.
Photos by DKG
In persuading the Countryside Team that it was necessary to use a herbicide, our tenant farmer promised he would, in return, drill flower seed into a couple of the fields to replace what was lost. We are very excited about this and looking forward to it.
More about ragwort here: