Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 28
  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029

    "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK

    It's no fun sitting around doing nothing all day, so last year I set up a community interest company in the Uk, primarily to raise funds to organise beach cleans in my little corner of Kent. A CIC means you can do stuff exactly as you would with a normal Ltd. company. Directors have limited liability, but all profits have to be distributed to community projects, not to shareholders.

    The local authority is much maligned by the local community - not without some justification. But so far, at least, I've found them receptive to community based initiatives to improve the local environment. This "Re-wilding" project being the latest.

    There's a patch of land, approx 1/3 of an acre nearby. It belongs to the local council. It's little more than occasionally mown weeds, bits of dog poo and litter that gets shredded by the council grass cutting contractor because the mowing contract doesn't include litter picking.

    So we've approached the council and got permission to "adopt" the land as a community supported project to re-wild as a wild flower meadow.

    The UK has lost 95 % of its wild flower meadows. They are essential to pollinators and provide habitat for all sorts of little cuddly and not so cuddly animals which is generally regarded as a good thing.

    To create a wild flower meadow you need a few things. Time, because nature works at its own pace. Money, because you need seeds and some of the jobs require machinery and labour - quite a lot of it, in fact.

    The process takes a couple of years to get going properly.

    Here's the steps:

    Year 1:
    Mow every 2 weeks and collect all cuttings. It is important to remove the nutrients from the soil, leaving the clippings simply returns fertility.

    By autumn by a final mow and collect. Then scarify the land. This removes all the moss and matted grasses. A bit like combing your hair, if you can remember that far back.

    Forage and collect wild flower seeds from other local sites. Buy the remainder

    We then have to cut patches of turf out and till the oil below ready for the autumn sowing of Yellow Rattle. This plant is supposed to be the enemy of grass and makes it easier for other wild flowers (good) to out compete the grasses (bad).

    Sow Yellow Rattle sparingly everywhere with clumps in the denuded areas of turf.

    Year 2:

    Cut and collect

    Cut out more patches of turf (i'm thinking 60+ of 60cm2), till

    Sow wild flower seeds (both the foraged and the bought

    Water regularly to establish

    Leave to grow until Autumn, except for a path way through and around that needs to be neatly mown to contrast with the wild areas. There's a fine line between "re-wilding" and looking neglected. So we are also tidying up the bushes and perimeter to keep the less imaginative neighbours on board

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    My first experiment in a pot in my own garden. Seeds sown in May, after 2 months

    "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-img_4667-jpg

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-img_4656-jpg

    The pic on the left is the "grass" to start - the right is our aim

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-img_4754-jpg

    The area looked unkempt- we are being careful to tidy up the paved areas and boundary shrubs etc to keep some of the more curtain twitchy neighbours on side. Many people still think that occasionally mown weeds and dog shit is aspirational

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-img_4695-jpg

    The first attempt at clearing the paved area - it was almost total covered in weeds

    Tidying up also fits with the "broken windows" theory of improving anti social behaviour
    Last edited by Lostandfound; 25-07-2021 at 03:34 PM.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-img_4910-jpg

    I did a couple of days volunteering on another rewinding project to get an idea of the problems.

    Here the council had mown the grass and we set out to rake it. It took 30 man hours to do a similar size area. Nasty hot work too. So I need a mower that collects the clippings. This has to be outsourced for elf n safety so we need money.

    I have a few hundred in the CIC, a donation from Pfizer for equipment that I may be able to dip into, a few hundred raised via Go Fund Me. I'm applying for a Covid Recovery Grant from the County Council. The local county councillor has promised to endorse it. We shall see.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-img_4912-jpg  

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-img_4777-jpg

    Yellow Rattle
    Rhinanthus minor, the yellow rattle, little yellow rattle,[1] hayrattle or cockscomb, is a flowering plant in the genus Rhinanthus in the family Orobanchaceae, native to Europe, northern North America, and Western Asia.

    Close-up of the flowers


    Capsules and seeds

    It is a hemi-parasitic herbaceous annual plant that gains some of its nutrients from the roots of neighbouring plants. It grows to 25–50 centimetres (9+3⁄4–19+3⁄4 in) tall, with opposite, simple leaves, with a serrated margin. The flowers are yellow, produced on a terminal raceme. The fruit is a dry capsule, which contain loose, rattling seeds when ripe; the plant's name refers to these. Its preferred habitat is dry fields or meadows, where its flowering period is between June and September. The plant can associate with many different host species, notably Poaceae (grasses) and Fabaceae(legumes).[2]
    In Ireland and Scotland, this species is often associated with Machair habitat. Research at the UK's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has shown that encouraging yellow rattle to grow in hay meadows greatly increases biodiversity by restricting grass growth and thereby allowing other species to thrive.[citation needed] The seeds are spread very effectively by traditional hay-making practices.
    It can be cultivated by scarifying the surface of the ground with a fork or similar, then sowing onto short grass, 0.5–1 gram of seed per square metre. Yellow rattle seed is short-lived and should always be sown in the autumn, using seed harvested that year. Then, keep grass short for beginning of March when seedlings establish. Thereafter, the grass should not be cut until the end of July to allow the yellow rattle to flower and go to seed, then cut short

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    Rhinanthus minor - Wikipedia

    Yellow Rattle
    hinan

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-img_4688-jpg

    First cut n collect.

    We've left a few "islands" of long growth to hint at what we're working towards and, who knows, encourage some early seeding

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:58 PM
    Posts
    9,856
    A promising start...

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Chiang Mai
    Posts
    37,936
    That yellow rattle seems to be a nasty thing. Glad we don’t have that here!

    Does the UK have any seed banks that could help you out with some nice wildflower seeds? Sometimes seed banks have endangered plants they want to propagate and will give it away or sell it to you on the cheap.

  12. #12
    Isle of discombobulation Joe 90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Mai Arse
    Posts
    2,526
    Quote Originally Posted by Lostandfound View Post
    Here the council had mown the grass and we set out to rake it. It took 30 man hours to do a similar size area. Nasty hot work too. So I need a mower that collects the clippings. This has to be outsourced for elf n safety so we need money.
    We petitioned the local council not to cut the grass in unused areas so nature could run wild.
    That natural spaces are full of colour and life now.

    Shall take some pics and post them up

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    That's a step in the right direction.

    It's important to mow twice a tear and remove all cuttings.

    This reduces fertility that grasses like and allows wild flowers to thrive.

    Also kerp a mown perimeter or border so it looks deliberate and not neglected.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    That yellow rattle seems to be a nasty thing. Glad we donít have that here!Does the UK have any seed banks that could help you out with some nice wildflower seeds? Sometimes seed banks have endangered plants they want to propagate and will give it away or sell it to you on the cheap.
    good idea, will check it out

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:58 PM
    Posts
    9,856
    Quote Originally Posted by Lostandfound View Post
    Also kerp a mown perimeter or border so it looks deliberate and not neglected.
    that would be key, I imagine.

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat

    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 01:12 PM
    Location
    Sanur
    Posts
    5,350
    A great project.
    It could be worth your while contacting Natural England, or your local wildlife trust. Natural England is big enough to have a hay bailer for use when cutting wildflower meadows, and the local trust can help with seeds as suggested above.
    The hay bailer takes some of the donkey work out of clearing cuttings, and it also produces a usable by product for local farms and stables.
    Dont let ragwort take hold or your meadow will rapidly become a monoculture.
    Good luck with a very worthwhile project.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat

    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 01:12 PM
    Location
    Sanur
    Posts
    5,350
    Quote Originally Posted by Lostandfound View Post
    Also kerp a mown perimeter or border so it looks deliberate and not neglected.
    Make a path wind through the flowers, so people are encouraged to visit and make use of it. Saves it from getting trampled after all your hard work. No need to restrict it to borders or perimeters. Just a thought.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-458ad22a-65e3-49b5-8454-86654156399e-jpg

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-c996da1a-34ee-44a7-99f5-d6a68d2f9a61-jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-458ad22a-65e3-49b5-8454-86654156399e-jpg  

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-2a840a6f-f6f7-4649-8249-2581c3a14fe3-jpg"Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-2a840a6f-f6f7-4649-8249-2581c3a14fe3-jpg"Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-336c46ce-40ad-43fb-b245-5d5e35a3e93e-jpg

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    Today's progress.

    we're progressively tidying up the perimeter areas so when the land is left to grow next year it will not look neglected

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:58 PM
    Posts
    9,856

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-c81abae8-3c08-443f-ac63-caaa8cd6ba2d-jpg

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    Part of the perimeter tidy up to "frame" the wild flower meadow.

    We planted an ornamental cherry - donated by an elderly resident. She wanted a memorial tree for her late husband. The council wanted nearly £400. We got it done for £70 including the membrane and decorative pebbles.

    The soil was hard as nails. Needed a pick axe to excavate the hole

    i jetwashed the area down afterwards.

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 07:06 PM
    Posts
    4,029
    "Re-wilding" a patch of neglected land in the UK-e5613211-d811-4eb6-985a-976d882d4085-jpg

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •