It has been an interesting year for us on Woodcock Hill and we have had to change the way we do things in light of COVID-19 and whilst this has wreaked havoc on our planned activities, we have been out on three occasions during the summer!
This time it has been all about improving our meadows and we have had some amazing turnout from the local community, in which we are hugely thankful for. So what did we get up to?
Our first outing post national lockdown #1 was a scorcher! And where we normally coincide our monthly work parties in the pouring rain, we were instead greeted by temperatures of 30’C. Over 10 volunteers joined us to create a new meadow by the ponds and while it doesn’t look like much now, over the next year or so, as we keep cutting it, we should notice greater floral diversity. As with most meadow cuts, volunteers used the bruschutter to cut as much grass as possible and removed the left over material to reduce the amount of nutrients that seeps into the soil (which grasses love). Alongside this we remove a few trees (suffering from Ash Dieback) and deepened one of our ponds so it can hold more water throughout the year.
This month we moved onto the meadow opposite Carrington Avenue. This has where we had planted a parasitic plant called Yellow Rattle, which reduces the vigour of grass, back in November 2019 for Mitzvah Day. A smaller work party joined us this month, whilst everyone quickly booked holidays away before the inevitable closure of tourism in Europe and in parts of the UK. You may see our habitat pile at the entrance of the green, which is a vital feature amphibians, mammals and reptiles to hibernate over winter.
Surprise, surprise! and behest to our volunteers who turned up again to discover we are cutting another meadow and raking it off… at least this time we got to work down the hill making life easier for all! Working opposite the beacon, this is our most established meadow, which flowers all the way from April to September and has been worked over the past 4 years. Once again we cute, rakes and removed small tress from the meadow and raked the arising sown the hill. Our hard work was rewarded when we discovered a small apple tree just a stones throw away with some delicious apples. We welcomed a few new volunteers who had a chance to operate our brushcutter and were essential in helping improve this meadow.
Keep your eye out in the future for our next blog, in which we go into more details about how to manage and create a wildflower meadow.
Written by Alex Melson