Thanks to everyone who turned up at short notice to help re-sow the New Meadow on Sunday 4th August 2013 for three hours in the afternoon – a great turnout and a job well done.
To recap, this small field was once head-high weed vegetation but was successfully restored to wildlflower-rich grassland back in 1992 by sowing with hay from Clifton Ings. Following a sewage leak in 2012, the plot had to be stripped of contaminated topsoil, then prolonged flooding prevented us re-establishing vegetation.
Over the past few weeks we have removed invasive weeds, hand-collected seed from the local Ings and had the plot ploughed and power-harrowed to create a seed bed. Sunday’s job was to unroll two hay bales like a carpet then rake the hay to spread it and shake-out the seed: someone has calculated that a large hay bale contains half a million seeds! Hand-collected seed was also broadcast.
Again, the hay was sourced from Clifton Ings, the ancient, herb-rich grassland which adjoins Rawcliffe Meadows. Not only is this a very cost-effective method but it also helps preserve genetic diversity by using locally-native seed. Once the weather cools, we shall be planting out hundreds of plants of meadowsweet and great burnet grown on for us by Brunswick Organic Nursery – please let us know if you’d like to help out.
A disturbed plot to the north of New Meadow has also been re-seeded. This area has always been very weedy, and the amount of pottery and other debris brought up by the plough strongly suggests that it has been tipped on at some point. Fencing will be installed to protect the re-seeded areas from livestock and human trampling: this will be removed once the grassland has re-established and we will retain the informal path which cuts through this area.
As well as all the volunteers, we would like to thank Simon Dunn for ploughing the plot, Philip Crabtree for supplying Clifton Ings hay, conservation contractor Don Davies for weeding and fencing, and Bob Missin and Dan Calvert (City of York Council) for help with organisation.