After an unseasonably wet May, we write this hoping that there are warmer and drier times ahead, as our summer programme begins in earnest and in-person field training sessions finally become possible once again. Traditional meadow habitats don’t just encourage plant biodiversity, they are also vital for a wide range of animals, particularly insects and pollinators. With this in mind, we have Dr Paul Cross from Bangor University speaking to us on Tuesday 8th June about the benefits of different pollinator habitats and we also will be hosting zoom and field training sessions on bumblebee ID in the coming few weeks.
Looking ahead, National Meadows Day on Saturday 3rd July, is fast approaching. Put the date in your diaries. Two of our members are hosting walks for their local community, and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust have an event at Birches Farm.
In the Meadow Makers project, we had the opportunity to trial some new pieces of equipment on two of our sites which should be of interest to all. Read all about this and more below:
Upcoming Herefordshire Meadows events:
‘What’s the buzz about – are all pollinator habitats equal?’ A Herefordshire Meadows Zoom webinar
Tuesday 8th June 6-7pm
In this talk, Dr Paul Cross (Bangor University) will introduce the science being conducted to better understand some of the challenges facing pollinators in the wider landscape. He will highlight some of the key indicator species to look out for in a healthy meadow and also which restored and created habitats are of most benefit to our native pollinators.
To book your place please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You will be sent the Zoom link shortly before the webinar.
For further details please visit our website.
Are you monitoring the year-on-year change in your wildflower meadow?
If you are, then we still have a few places left on our Meadows Plant Identification Field Training led by Stuart Hedley.
Thursday 10th June, 1.30 for 2pm to 5pm at Bromyard Downs WR13 (by kind permission of the Bromyard Downs Commoners Association)
Practice the rapid monitoring method in the field in small socially distanced groups around 2m square quadrats or your own quadrat and learn plant ID skills. You will leave knowing exactly what to do at your Meadow Maker site.
Joining instructions will be sent nearer the date.
Please book your place through the Hub – email email@example.com giving an indication of whether you can
- ID some plants in flower or
- ID most plants in flower or
- ID most plants by leaves only.
Please order a lens and wildflower guide in advance using the suggestions on Survey and Monitoring page.
Other upcoming events:
A great opportunity to see a large area of flower-rich meadows: Sunday 6th June. Brockhampton Cottage, Brockhampton, Hereford, HR1 4TQ
Herefordshire Meadows member, Peter Clay, is opening his garden in the National Garden Scheme this year. There is a 5-acre wildflower meadow, a woodland garden, a Perry pear orchard, and in the valley below a lake, stream and arboretum.
Pre-booking is essential via the National Garden Scheme website.
‘Rewarding land use change: payments for carbon, soils and biodiversity’: ‘Networks For Nature’ webinar series
Thursday 10th June, 1pm – 2.30pm
A free webinar looking at some of the different schemes and future opportunities for diversifying land use on farms, in order to generate income from natural assets – the Woodland Carbon Code, Biodiversity Net Gain, and the Farm Carbon Toolkit.
Listen/ Watch/ Read again:
‘A Smallholders Experience of Machinery for Flower Rich Meadows’ with Tim Daniels
Tim Daniels gave a detailed insight into how he manages his 5.5-acre flower rich smallholding in Newton St. Margarets. Tim outlined some of the challenges and considerations that come with trying to manage a smallholding such as his including; weed control, equipment costs and grazing strategies. The full webinar is available to watch again here.
‘In conversation with a soil health pioneer’ with Gabe Brown
In the latest edition of the Future Farming podcast, Janet Hughes spoke to Gabe Brown about education in farming, shortening the supply chain and the six principles of soil health. Gabe Brown has been named one the 25 most influential agricultural leaders in the US and is a pioneer of the soil health movement. Listen to this episode again here.
SAVE THE DATE:
National Meadows Day – Saturday 3rd July
National Meadows Day this year will be on Saturday 3rd July and we are planning to host two events in the East and West of the County. Put the date in your diary and keep an eye out for further updates.
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust are also hosting an event at Birches Farm on 3rd July.
Shropshire Hay Meadow Festival – Saturday 24th July
After having to be cancelled last year, the Shropshire Hay Meadow Festival is back. It is a great, fun filled, family day out celebrating all the wonders of wildflower meadows. You can find more details here. If you are interested in joining a Herefordshire scything team contact Rory Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Now is the time to get out there and conduct your plant and bumblebee ID surveys before hay is cut. Irrespective of whether you already have a well-established meadow, have recently carried out restoration works or hope to carry out restoration works in the near future, it is good practice to survey on an annual basis. This will enable you to see changes over time and gather vital data that will help guide management decisions going forward. You can find lots of useful information and helpful resources on the ‘surveying an monitoring’ page of our website including; how to carry out a rapid monitoring assessment, and a meadow plant ID sheet.
Meadow Makers Project:
New Technology in Action
Last month saw us trialling some new pieces of equipment on two of our Meadow Maker sites. First of all, a McConnel Robocut RC75 was deployed to help clear some dense birch scrub from on top of a Roman archaeological site. You can watch a short video of the Robocut in action here.
Then on May 12th Stephen Jelley, Global Head of Sales for RootWave, demonstrated the potential of using electrical treatment as a means of controlling perennial weeds at another of our Meadow Maker sites. RootWave’s Electricide technology produces a 5000V charge which boils weeds from the root upwards. The technology is relatively new but advancing all the time and it could offer an effective chemical free means of weed control. Again, you can watch a short video of the trial here.
Caroline, Sue, Catherine, Rory and Maya