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Autumn wildflower management

Sunday Work Party 27th October Alan had done a great job during the week of the difficult task of strimming the tough grasses of the wildflower areas, both on the bank below Crow Wood, and on The Triangle. Today conditions were perfect for clearing up the cut material which had dried out in the fine and windy weather of the past few days. Though we didn’t manage to get it all cleared today, we certainly made a very good start.

Sunday Work Party 27th October

Work Party Sunday 3rd November at 13 00

As expected the weather was not as good as it had been last week, but we managed to clear all the cut grasses and rake out some of the thatch that was starting to accumulate. All in all still a good day for enjoying a bit of fresh air and exercise. We did not see much in the way of wildlife, though there were plenty of banded snails, good news for our Song Thrushes, but we did disturb one moth, still managing to be camouflaged even when sitting on a cut stem. This was an Angle Shades moth, a common species whose caterpillars feed on a wide range of plants from Nettles and Docks to Hazel and Oak. The superb patterns of the markings and scalloped wing edges serve to break up its outline and with its colour matching dead leaves and grasses it is well hidden from predators, unless, as the other photo shows, it sits on a green beech leaf. That one was seen when working on hedge trimming in the middle of October, and looks to have not long emerged from the chrysalis.

Angle Shades moth.

Path tidy Sunday 10th November

In addition to keeping the grasses and other tall vegetation on the wildflower bank under control by autumn strimming, we also like to make sure that the path and steps bordering the wildflower bank below Crow Wood is given a tidy up. If we do it, there is less chance of the Council coming along and spraying the edges as they do elsewhere. With 7 of us working, after some attendance at Remembrance Sunday services and events, it was all cleared in good time.

It was hard work at times, especially for some of us who are not so young, so we would like to encourage any additional younger people, who also enjoy our woodland and wildflower work, to come along to some of our work parties and share in the work and the craic.

The Benefits of the work

It is worth taking an opportunity to reflect on why we do this work every autumn. This bank and adjacent areas were sown with Scottish origin wildflower seeds in spring 2014, and they have been looking good and attracting pollinating insects every year since. These latest summer photos were from July 2019 and are a good reminder of the colourful display that we now have. They also show something of the diversity of flowers that have become established in an area that was originally just Council maintained grass.

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