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Coronation Meadow Plug Planting Antics

Posted: Thursday 6th April 2017 by LowerAireValley

Hi there everyone! It's been a while since you've heard from us so here we have a much needed update for you all written by Laura and Pete.

Since our last blog we’ve undergone a variety of tasks, including a MASSIVE litter pick at Rothwell Pastures which Pete was absolutely thrilled about (wink) however the site was much in need of it and we filled 28 bin bags of litter. You could really see the beauty of the site afterwards. We’ve since been woodland thinning at Ledston Luck to promote ground flora biodiversity, Hedgelaying at Townclose Hills and clearing scrub off Kippax meadows. However with breeding bird season approaching we are moving on to different tasks that won’t disturb the birds.

For the last 4 weeks we have embarked on project work for our coronation meadow at Water Haigh Woodland Park. We’re trying to boost the meadows wildflower diversity by planting 6,000 plug plants. Our leader Elspeth has been away for the last 3 weeks so it has been down to me (Laura) to lead the amazing volunteers. They are a pleasure to work with as they are all hardworking and fun people to be with. I just want to send out a huge thank you to you all for all your efforts these last few weeks. Our last day was a tough one as there were still 2,000 plants to go in. By 3pm there were 320 plants left, I asked if they wanted to finish there but the general consensus was that they wanted to get it done so we did a last hard push for an hour to get them all in! I was certainly aching later. Big well done to Charlie, Charles, Glenys, Chris, Shelagh, Jean, Melvyn, Marte, Sam, Alec, Rob and our corporate volunteers from EE! Extra thank you to my fellow trainee’s Rob and Rachel in the west and assistant reserves officer Alec for driving the tools and plants to and from site, couldn’t have happened without you! I’ll now handover to Pete for some background information and why we were doing this.

Last year the group seeded this field with a typical meadow mixture in the hope this would improve the biodiversity of the sword to create a species rich pasture. Even though it’s only been a year, the change is evident by the increase in diversity. Our new efforts with the plug planting will hopefully further enhance the meadow giving us not only some beautiful wildflowers but also providing some good natural grazing for either a flock of sheep or possibly some rare breed cattle.

I can give you, just for those that may be interested the species list and these are as follows: Primula Ribwort Plantain Common Cats Ear Harebell Meadow Vetchling Oxe Eye Daisy Field Scabious Birds-foot Trefoil Greater Knapweed Red Clover Meadow Buttercup Ladies Bedstraw And even some Orchids.

Native wildflower meadows are so important for not only our birds and insects but in providing us a better quality of life when we take the time-out to look around us. That's what we do it for, a few hours a week can make all the difference especially in the case of wildflower meadows which since the 1960s there has been a 90% loss. This cannot be sustained at this rate, otherwise we will be in danger of losing even more species of butterfly, bees and other insects which all contribute to a bigger picture for general wildlife preservation.

We would be only too happy to welcome any of you out there that may fancy joining us in our efforts to improve the local green spaces in the Lower Aire Valley.

Hope to meet you soon,

Laura (Reserves Trainee) and Pete  







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