Wildflower Meadow Project 2021

Published: 23rd July 2021
Categories: News, Community & Volunteer, Clanfield, Outdoor & Leisure

The first phase of Clanfield’s wildflower meadow project is definitely going ahead this year, weather permitting. Final details were signed off by the Parish Council at its meeting on Tuesday 20th July.

The first phase of Clanfield’s wildflower meadow project is definitely going ahead this year, weather permitting. 

 Final details were signed off by the Parish Council at its meeting on Tuesday 20th July. This is to establish a wildflower meadow on approximately 1.28 acres (just over 3 acres) of the top field at Down Farm Park.

 Earlier in the year, soil samples were taken and professionally analysed and it was found that the land is ideal for the purpose. Work has now started on the first stage - essential weed clearance (ragwort, creeping thistle and dock) - from the project area which is shown hatched blue on the attached plan. A scheme of ragwort control is also being put in place for the rest of the large field which was transferred to the Parish Council from the developers of the St James Place estate in December 2020.

 Further volunteer sessions are being planned for next Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, 27th and 28th July, starting at 10 am. As Parish Council Chairman, John Bannell, who is leading this project personally, says:

 “All will be very welcome. The more people who take part, the quicker this essential preparatory work will get done. Just bring a garden fork and, most importantly, some stout gardening gloves. We will be pleased to see you.”

 The Consultant who is advising the Parish Council on this project is a former County Countryside Officer with considerable and successful experience of establishing wildflower meadows. In September / October (dependent on weather and ground conditions) specialist contractors will undertake the next three stages of the work which will be:

 * A forage harvest cut with the sward being taken down to between 1 and 2 cms. The arisings will be removed from the project area and taken to the margins of the field to compost.

 * The project area will then be disc cut to a depth of approximately 5 cms to create 33% bare soil - this will retain the wildflowers that are already there and provide the best conditions for sowing the new seed.

 * The seed is being selected from specialist suppliers for provinance and will include some annuals for display in the first year. it will be sown using a tractor mounted spinner.

Arrangements are also being put in place for aftercare in 2022.

 Councillor John Bannell added:

“There will be signage asking people to respect the working area by keeping to the paths and with dogs on leads during these operations and then, next year and beyond, we will look forward to enjoying a wonderful display.”

 The project is fully funded by Section 106 developer contributions and by County Councillor and District Councillor grants. It forms part of a package of measures which the Parish Council’s Community Working Group is bringing forward in response to the Parish Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in June 2020. Bee hives have been established on Parish Council land this Summer and, on Tuesday, the Council also approved plans for the first phase of a tree planting programme. 

 All these projects are being fully funded by grants which the Council has secured.

 Laurent Coffre, the Community Working Group chairman expressed his thanks to the team who made the project come to life: "I am truly grateful to the members of the Community Working Group for their work and our Parish Council for having supported us in this endeavour; this demonstrates the engagement of the Parish Council to promote and protect our biodiversity, an objective to which other plans like our tree planting project will also contribute".

The plans can be found here.

 - ENDS -

  23rd July 2021

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