Giving Nature a helping hand

Wildlife can recover, but we often need to give it a nudge in the right direction. Here our warden, Alison, talks about an innovative approach used at Nashenden to help diversify a previous arable section:

Sometimes wildlife needs a helping hand. Especially when restoring the damage done from something as uniquely artificial as intensive modern arable farming.

Some parts of Nashenden that were intended to be grassland were left to try to recover by themselves. What happened is we got a huge amount of Barren Brome grass, creeping thistle and not much else. There was no diversity.

Here's what we did. We had a big round bale of hay made from grass and flowers cut elsewhere on the site. We picked a particularly rubbish bit of the slope and we unrolled the bale down the slope like a gigantic loo roll. After a few weeks letting the seeds drop out, we put our sheep on to eat the remaining material. 5 years later and you can still spot the strip of wild flowers running down the slope that came from the seed.

The video below shows me walking from one side of that narrow strip to the other. I start with lots of thistle, go through a lovely flowery patch and end up in lots of thistle. It's why I believe that the only way we are going to get a diversity of plant species in the arable is to help it out with some mixed seed as well. We know it works. Here is the proof.

We will only be able to do this by raising funds through our appeal. To find out more about our exciting plans at Nashenden please visit our appeal page or donate below.

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