Category Archives: Ecology

In Praise of Bracken

 Bracken tends to get a pretty bad press, and with good reason. However, bracken can make a positive contribution to a habitat, garden or farm system. On our holding we have come to value rather then fear our stands of bracken. Bracken as part of Britain’s Ecology Bracken is natural part of the British flora. It provides valuable habitat for small mammals, birds and reptiles … Continue reading In Praise of Bracken »

Night Scents and Secrets

Meadows are a beautiful sight but have you ever noticed their scents? During the day there is not much, except maybe the sweet smell of curing hay. Come the fall of evening though, the scents come alive. One of the rewards of working outdoors late into the evening is the discovery of another world that starts to come alive as we are thinking of turning … Continue reading Night Scents and Secrets »

Planning your Meadow Management

Top Field in the snow

Although it does not feel like it, spring will be upon us soon. Whether you have acres of grassland or a wildlife patch in the corner of your allotment, this is an ideal time to plan how you will manage your meadow over the coming year. Below are some tasks to get started on soon and others to think about in the seasons to come. … Continue reading Planning your Meadow Management »

Giving part of the meadow the Chelsea Chop

Making an Early Start. Conventional advise has suggested waiting until July or later before beginning to cut wildflower meadows. However, in recent years this has begun to change and we have started some of our hay making from the end of May. One late cutting date is more suited to machine mowing, where as hand hay making lends it’s self to a more nuanced approach. … Continue reading Giving part of the meadow the Chelsea Chop »

The Summer of Hay Making Begins.

Orchid in bud

It’s a weekend of firsts – we had our first beginners scythe course of the season yesterday and we started the first hay making of the year. Phil also found the first orchids in the hay field. The first was in bud……. and the second was starting to open. The beauty of the scythe is that the mower is very aware of the vegetation that is … Continue reading The Summer of Hay Making Begins. »

Cutting Norfolk Reed with a Scythe

Winter is somewhat of a quiet season for the scythe but for a number of years now Richard Brown, member of the Scythe Association of Britain and Ireland (SABI), has been giving fellow members an opportunity to get in a bit of winter mowing by cutting reed on the wildlife reserve he manages in Norfolk. Phil went up and helped last year, when the cutting … Continue reading Cutting Norfolk Reed with a Scythe »

Tracing the Scent

Common Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus)

There is a particular spot on one of the Trust paths that often smells rather, well, unpleasant. I walk by frequently when we have stock in the far field and the source has been puzzling me since the summer. At first I thought it was a dead fox or similar, but the smell didn’t seem to disappear over time as I would have expected. Then … Continue reading Tracing the Scent »