photo showing meadowsweet and knapweed in the meadow 2021
Working with both the Woodland Trust and Landlife, from the National Wildflower Centre, we planted our first new 12 acre woodland and meadow here on the farm in 2011.
This new space was been created by a method known as soil inversion and planted with 5400 native decidous trees and a wildflower meadow mix to create a 'Forest of Flowers'. The term coined to describe this method.
Soil inversion involves turning the soil over to a depth of up to a metre. This takes the nutrient rich top soil down to where the tree roots will be and brings the poorer subsoil to the surface, which is better for wildflowers. This allows the woodland and meadow to get off to a good start without weed competition and no need for chemical methods of management.
Over the years this farm, like many others, has been intensively farmed for arable crops. The methods of agriculture employed unfortunately led to a decrease in many species of both flora and fauna.
A consequence that we needed to remedy as best we can.
Both tree and flower seed mix were chosen for this area, replicating as best as possible what would be growing here under natural conditions.
Over the past ten years this comprehensive mix of trees and wildflowers has greatly increased the biodiversity of the local area.
The woodland and meadow are now part of the farm on the hill campsite. A few pitches are set within the woodland and some border the meadow areas.
Watching the growth of this project over the past ten years has been such a privilege. For the past five years I’ve lived within it in a caravan, experiencing first hand the journey from arable to woodland. The trees are now large enough to nest in and a few weeks ago I spotted the first tree creeper I’ve seen in this woodland. Mushrooms now carpet the woodland floor and the constant chatter of birds, and scurrying of creatures accompanies every moment here. The daily circling of the kites as they search for their food, a bird that had not been seen in this area until the woodland and meadows were planted, shows me first hand the difference this one small enclave of nature has made :)
So many firsts, and everyday I’m so grateful we did this, what an amazing thing to have been able to take part in.
The tree mix that was planted in the woodland:
Sessile Oak, Silver Birch, Downy Birch, Hazel, Rowan, Wild Cherry, Alder, Willow, Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Guelder Rose, Dog Rose, Dogwood and Crab Apple
The flowers that were sown:
annual mix: Corncockle, Cornflower, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold and Poppy
Perennial mix: Red Campion, Lady's Bedstraw, Ox-eye Daisy, Wild Carrot, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Devil's Bit Scabious, Musk Mallow, Vipers Bugloss, Bluebell, Toadflax, Lesser Knapweed, Meadow Buttercup, Meadowsweet and Teasel.