Meadow

Mowing the Wildflower Meadow

Each year we give the wildflower a bit of a trim. This keeps the grass in check and helps the wild flowers to thrive.

Wildflowers are happy in ‘poor’ soil, and taking the cuttings away helps them by reducing soil fertility. The extra nutrients from the cuttings only encourages the grasses, which will then crowd-out the flowering plants

The grass will be cut in the week before, so the wildflower seeds get a chance to escape. On the day we need to rake up and remove up the grass cuttings.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s good fun. Our volunteers are a fabulous group of people.

We’ll be working in the wildflower meadow from 10am until about 12. All ages welcome (there’s a job for everyone).

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It’s time to mow the meadow

Each year we give the wildflower a bit of a trim. This keeps the grass in check and helps the wild flowers to thrive.

The grass has been cut. Now we need to rake up and remove up the cuttings and put them to good use elsewhere. This year we’ll be using them to mulch the new trees in our Miyawaki Forest and Celtic Circle.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s good fun. Our volunteers are a fabulous group of people.

We’ll be working in the wildflower meadow from 10am until about 12. All ages welcome (there’s a job for everyone).

It’s time to mow the meadow Read More »

It’s time to mow the meadow!

Each year we give the wildflower a bit of a trim. This keeps the grass in check and helps the wild flowers to thrive.

It’s a lot of work, so we need your help!

Mowing the meadow 2020
Some of last year’s helpers…

If you can spare an hour or two to help us rake up and remove up the cuttings you’ll be doing great things for our little forest and the many visitors who come to enjoy it.

We’ll be working in the wildflower meadow (of course 🙂 ) from 10am on Sunday 29th August. All ages welcome.

Why not bring a picnic, or at least a little something for a well-earned break at half-time.

HBUF Map

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Let’s get to work…

So that it can reach its full potential as a haven for wildlife and people alike in the urban landscape of Swindon, the Hreod Burna Urban Forest needs a lot of work.

Following on from the huge success of our efforts to mow the wildflower meadow in September, we have plans to take on a series of vital jobs in other parts of HBUF.

Just some of our wildflower volunteers

Over the coming months we have volunteers from various groups coming in for one-off events and we’re launching a regular get-together once a month to tackle a long list of jobs that the trustees have identified:

  • Strimming, clearing of brambles and cutting back in some areas to allow new planting and maintain previously planted areas.
  • Creating a grove of birch trees around the trees rescued from the Moonrakers roadworks.
  • Preparation and planting of our Celtic tree circle.
  • Strimming and clearance of existing paths and cutting back trees/undergrowth in preparation for laying of new paths.
  • Coppicing – this was started last autumn and needs to be maintained.
  • Planting of trees & under-storey shrubs (e.g. box, yew, holly).
  • Planting of 1,000 fritillaries and wildflower plug plants in the wildflower meadow.
  • Clearance of the Himalayan balsam growing along the brook – it’s an invasive species.

Our regular work parties will be on the first Sunday of every month, starting on the 1st of November.

The events will be covid-safe. We have plenty of jobs spread across the site to allow small groups to work at distance within government guidelines.

We’ll post more details of the particular works planned each month closer to the date, and what particular skills & equipment (gloves, tools, etc.) might be required. If you can join us every month, or just for an hour or two every now and again, your efforts will be greatly appreciated (not just by us but by everyone that gets such joy from the forest both today and for years to come).

You can check back here or on Facebook for news of upcoming events. If you haven’t already, why not subscribe to our mailing list for advanced warning of events and other updates from HBUF.

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The Great British Mow-Off

Last Sunday, 13th September 2020, at 10.00am, a large group of people met at our wildflower meadow to help with the annual mow and rake.

Photo of the wildflower meadow before the mowing. Grass and wildflowers up to 3 feet high.
Before…

So, how many people does it take to mow and rake a meadow?  I counted twenty; and they were perfectly splendid specimens of humanity who had given up their Sunday morning to engage in some pretty vigorous exercise.  One of them, pressed into service by his girlfriend’s mother, was seized upon straight away to mantle (if there’s a ‘dismantle’, there has to be a ‘mantle’, right?) a new rake before using it to do some raking.  Bob started on another, but had to stop as he lost a nut and bolt.  Can’t get the staff.  The girlfriend, by the way, had stayed in bed. 

There was a certain amount of standing around to begin with, since an assumption had been made that the mowing would have already taken place during the week.  That assumption is all tied in with an inference about mowers – just because something is mechanical doesn’t mean that it is just a walk in the park.  At some point soon, we will be getting a tractor and then, perhaps, we can talk about walks in parks, but for now, take it as read that mowing with a scythe-mower is a strenuous work-out.

However, this standing around was a brilliant opportunity to engage with new people, to see old friends, chat over how and why everyone had come, put faces to names, marvel over what a little jewel Hreod Burna Urban Forest is, and express surprise that so many people who live in the area do not know of its existence.

Andy took the first shift with our scythe-mower and he alternated with our press-ganged boyfriend over the course of the morning.  Since I have very little muscle, I did a bit of raking to show willing till my little muscle gave up, and everyone else did a lot of energetic raking.  Then I remembered the important job of taking photographs.  I hope you will be able to spot yourself in one of them.  Unfortunately, Andy won’t be able to spot himself as I missed him out (sorry, Andy, one day your turn will come and you will achieve stardom).

Photo of wildflower after the mowing. Large area of rough cut grass.
…after!

All of this airy persiflage goes to express our huge thanks to everyone who came and worked so hard.  We are particularly thankful because of all the setbacks everyone has had this year so far.

Checkout our volunteers in action…

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P.S.  During the course of the morning, Jason’s daughters found beetles, frogs, toads, crickets, grasshoppers, and even a mouse.  Several of us were gifted, furthermore, with visits from dragonflies.

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