Today the Bough Beech Volunteers gathered for their first big task of 2021 at the nature reserve. The volunteers are now being managed by Bore Place and Lynne and Pete Flower are continuing in their role as volunteer wardens.
Bore Place is working with SES Water with the objective of enhancing the biodiversity of the land around the Bough Beech Reservoir.
Very little work has been done in the fields around the Oast since lockdown March 2020, and the day’s activities were concentrated in the Farmyard Field on the north side of the access track. It was interesting to see how nature was reasserting itself. The parking area was now fully covered over, and the picnic tables were disappearing in the long grass and the walk through the willow bed and dead hedge had disappeared under a cloak of brambles. However, the wild-flower patch was in full flower, attracting bees and butterflies, and the new laid hedge full of fruits and berries.
A 5m strip of grass along the hedge line on the north side was cut by hand with scythes and the path along the willow bed was cleared.
Cutting some of the long grass and removing the hay allows seeds to germinate and minimises the build- up of soil fertility which occurs if the cut grass remains in the meadow. Meadow flowers prefer poor soil and annuals need to set seed for next year. Cutting the grass late in the year gives the flowering plants time to set and disperse their seeds. We always leave some patches uncut for winter cover and for seeds for birds and insects.