On June 18th 2023, a one hectare meadow, which forms part of the complex layout of Eardisley Castle, an Historic England scheduled ancient monument layout was opened to the public to raise money for the Hereford Choral Society.
The meadow was created in 2020 as part of the Pollinator Meadows Project, with the support of Herefordshire Meadows, Plantlife and funding from the Duke of Cornwall’s Benevolent Fund. Three years on and the meadow is supporting several new plant species and plenty of insects. It is a marvellous to see.
Meadow creation process
In July 2020 the grass was first cut and baled to remove vegetation and reduce the fertility of the soil. Donor seed for the site was sourced from two meadows in South Herefordshire; Greenway Meadow near Walterstone and the Herefordshire Widlife Trust’s Parks reserve at Dulas.
Before restoration works commenced permission was gained from Historic England to lightly scarify the field using a tine harrow to open up gaps for the donor seed to be introduced into. This was quite a task as the meadow was full of thatch. After several rounds, a sufficient amount of bare earth was achieved. This is important for the seed to germinate. The large amount of harrowed thatch was collected with a ride on mower which needed a serious service as a result.
Once the land had been prepared, the seed was sowed by hand. There was a lot of discussion about the best way to ensure an even distribution . Flower pots were used to delignate the rows.
The first year -2021 saw the arrival of the annuals – yellow rattle and a lovely little plant we had never seen before – eyebright. Both these plants are hemi-parasitic on grass and essential to keeping the very rampant Herefordshire sward in check. This enabled the perennial plants to start to get established.
Every year the meadow has grown in diversity. In 2023 Toby Fountain and surveyed the meadow with the owner and found at least 24 species compared with the 8 before we started the meadow creation. We were thrilled to see a Southern Marsh Orchid flowering for the first time this year.
The garden and meadow were visited by about 350 people for the Open Gardens afternoon. The visitors entered the garden through the meadow and were able to learn about its content from two meadow-makers Christopher Goode and Hilary Hillier. Hilary spotted Goats Beard which appeared for the first time this year.
It was a lovely day and very rewarding to be able to introduce a new audience to the delights of meadows.
Plant list- 2023
|common cats ear|
|common mouse ear|
|changing forget- me- not|
|Southern marsh orchid|