Wildflower Meadow Creation

Day two of our wildflower meadow work and we got another 12 mtr by 4 mtr block cleared. Marcus did most of the clearing work and Mick started digging up bramble roots.

 

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Looking up and down from the picnic bench and the clearing is starting to take shape. We had forgotten that we had planted trees in the bit facing south, but it will add to the area, I am sure.

What we are very aware of, is that we don’t want to create a huge area straight away and then be unable to manage it next summer. So we will stick with 200 square metres and really keep on top of it, in terms of weeding out anything that is going to try to dominate. The main culprits will be bramble, nettles and rose-bay willow-herb. We can add another 200 square metres next autumn and kind of carry on over the next few years. We are never going to have rolling acres of glorious meadow because we are confined by our width, but I do feel that we are making the most of what we have got.

The other side of the path is ready to be cleared.

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I started on this towards the end of today and it is quite easy to clear.

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It is really important to keep the scrub at a good width at the edges. Small mammals will have cover from owls and other predators and, the fruit that it produces is vital for so many species of wildlife.

We need to bring mattocks and rakes next week and really get the earth as bare as possible before putting our seed mix down.

Great work today.

Paul

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Wildflower Meadow Creation

Marcus and myself made it today and we started to create our wildflower meadow. We have allowed our ideas to morph a little bit and are now creating this meadow around the communal bench in the bird-feeder area. It is just so much easier to get to and is the central part of the greenway.

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We are starting to clear four 12 mtr by 4 mtr areas around the bench. It is not looking very pretty at the moment (work in progress) but we will focus on clearing the ground and digging out the roots of brambles. Everything that we dig out will be used to create habitat piles for existing wildlife.

This will give us 200 sq mtrs of meadow. We can see how it goes, or grows, and see where we go with it. We can either extend what we have, or create another meadow area further down the path. Clay-wildflowers

We just need to be mindful of how easily we can manage these areas, once they are up and running. We will need to weed out things that start to come up that are already in the seed-bank, or at least keep them in check to give our new seeds a chance to germinate and grow. And we need to be able to mow it at the end of the season.

The seed and grass mix is this:-

35% Wildflowers

yarrow

3% Yarrow

hedge garlic

1% Hedge Garlic

cornflower

3% Cornflower

lesser knapweed

2% Lesser Knapweed

ox eye daisy

2% Oxeye Daisy

wild carrot

2% Wild Carrot

teasel

3% Teasel

Vipers bugloss

3% Vipers Bugloss

St Johns wort

1% St John’s-wort

Field Scabious

1% Field Scabious

Birds foot trefoil

3% Birdsfoot Trefoil

wild parsnip

1% Wild Parsnip

common sorrel

2% Common Sorrel

red clover

2% Red Clover

dark mullein

1% Dark Mullein

tall mullein

1% Tall Mullein

65% Grasses

meadow foxtail

5% Meadow Foxtail

crested dogstail

20% Crested Dogstail

cocksfoot

15% Cocksfoot

red fescue

10% Red Fescue

yorkshire fog

5%  Yorkshire Fog

common bent

10% Common Bent

This is a pretty exciting project and brings another layer of biodiversity to this area. To just sit at our bench and watch the birds and butterflies feeding will be fantastic.

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If you are wanting to get involved with volunteering and have a love of nature, come along and try us out.

Paul

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Bat Boxes

Marcus, Mike, Aaron and myself got the bat boxes up. A bit of research and we found out that the entrance to the chamber needs to be 15 to 20 mm wide, so we closed this up a bit. We also found that the boxes need to be mounted close together and facing the sun.

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It is all a bit of trial and error at the moment but we can keep an eye on the boxes to see if they are being used.

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If we see bat droppings under the boxes we will know that we have bats.

We refilled the bird-feeders and really it is just about me getting back into a routine with the greenway, since moving house.

Lastly, Aaron gave the sides of the path one last mow.

Next one is either meeting at the underpass and working north, or finding a clearing to plant the sack full of bluebell bulbs that Andrew gave me. It will probably be the bulbs, but I just need to find a clearing.

Great day today, great company and good work.

Paul

 

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Bird and Bat Boxes

Our good friend, Andrew, made us some more bird boxes and bat boxes. Thank-you, Andrew. Aaron, Mick and myself got the bird boxes up around a nice clearing south of the bird-feeder area.

Two are directly on the path, and high up, and the other two are off the path so will be useful for birds that are not bold enough to use the ones on the path.

The four bat boxes need a slight modification. The slit at the base is too wide and will allow predators to enter the box. The slit needs to be 15 to 20 mm wide. By chance we found a length of timber that we can cut up and reduce the width of the slit. We can then mount the boxes on the oak tree at the start of the big clearing. They need to be 12 feet high and face the sun between south-west and south-east. This will give the bats four different places to roost, depending on the time of the day and time of year.

I have changed Wednesday’s workday to get us back in the clearing to finish off.

Andrew also gave us a sack of bluebell bulbs so we need to get these in pretty quickly.

We have the last few berries on the shrubs and trees so I will order the meadow seed mix and we can start to roll back the scrub, and seed the bare ground. It is very noticable how our widening work last year has created rich grassy areas and a nice open feel.

A tool that we all agreed that we need is a pole saw. We really need to keep the overhanging branches cut back. I will see what I can do.

Paul

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A Way Out…

We all need a way out sometimes – so today we created another way to get off the greenway. This time it is just before you get to the old Dunchurch railway station.

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The picture really does not do it justice. When the chopped back vegetation dies away it will be a bit more defined. This picks up the path that runs all the way to Cawston Lane on the edge of Dunchurch.

We snipped back the bramble from Potsford Dam to the station. It just seems too early to start clearing the fruit-rich scrub.

Quick look up and down..

 

 

And side to side..

 

 

Gives us a flavour of where we are and how lovely it is.

Future dates for this month are – Sunday 21st 10am to 12, Wednesday 24th 10am to 12, Wednesday 31st 10am to 12.

Good work today.

Paul

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Our last day of the summer in 2018

The greenway did have a feel about it, that it had given its all over the hot summer and was now rapidly falling into a sleepy rest over autumn and winter.

Chris, Marcus, Aaron and myself started at Potsford Dam and worked south just gently snipping back the scrub to get a bit of width.

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The scrub needs to be pushed back one metre on each side, on an alternating basis, This will create a wavy path with little hot-spots for wildlife. We cannot do this yet because there is a rich harvest of fruit and nectar still on offer to wildlife that need to stock up for the winter.

Plenty of fruit on offer.

Nectar still available from some late flowers, but getting rare.

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Cawston Reservoir is still looking very sorry for itself. I wonder when the levels will be back to normal.

Great day today.

Paul

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We are getting a huge amount of use…

….which is a great thing. Marcus and myself must of seen about 40 people in different groups, on Sunday. This is great news and  shows how we have progressed over the years. A nice wide path brings in the users.

Nice fungi photos as the season starts for this.

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Still plenty of berries for birds and others to fatten up on before winter.

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A quick up and down shows how we are looking. Pretty good!!

Next one is Wednesday. Come along and get involved!!

Paul

 

 

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