Rewilding a small field to help protect the environment
During our renovations in 2007-8, the area behind our garages had become a sort of dumping ground for rocks, earth and under soil removed when we dug trenches for our ground source heat pump. In the summers of 2008 and 2009 we were blessed (!) with a bountiful display of thistles, dock leaves and nettles.
We thought we might be able to do better.
Help from the National Park Authority
So, in October 2009, we prepared the field to be reborn as a wildflower meadow. Having no idea how to go about this, we contacted the National Park Authority who proved extremely helpful.
We collected the wood debris for burning and buried rocks and stones in a couple of convenient depressions in our fields. Next, we needed topsoil – in particular ‘poor’ or unimproved soil that had not been fertilized with animal or synthetic fertilizer.
Lucky for us, Bill Nadin (the local farmer who rents most or our land for grazing) mentioned that he had a bit of soil – i.e. a couple of hundred tons – which he believed had been removed from the top of what is now Hindlow quarry. A soil sample analysis by the Park Authority confirmed it was suitable and several dumper loads later we had a pretty impressive looking patch of earth.
The Peak Park kindly supplied us with a bagful of wildflower seed together with instruction on the type and density of grass seed with which it needed to be mixed prior to sowing. We seeded the field accordingly and waited for spring.
After a very cold winter and very dry spring, it seemed like an eternity before anything happened. Slowly but surely, the bare earth acquired a green tinge, followed by a grass stubble. As instructed, we removed docks and thistles that dared to invade although they continue to lurk on the margins.
By July 2010, we had a reasonably realistic grassy knoll and our first wild flowers: Yellow Rattle, Ribwort, Cat’s Ear and White Clover.
A year later, and the meadow was full of ox-eye daisies and an ever increasing variety of species.
In March 2011, we planted ten fruit and nut trees supplied by in the meadow – give us a few years and we’ll be making our own cider!
Ten years on
What does our wildflower meadow look like today? Well, why not come over and see for yourself?
Rewilding Britain is now widely recognised as an important step forward if we are to reverse ecological decline and help tackle climate breakdown.