Nationally during the 20th century 97% of wildflower meadows were lost. They were once common along the Nene valley but many were lost to gravel extraction and intensive agriculture.
Creating a wildflower meadow is no quick fix and it will take five years or more for it to achieve its full potential. Preparation is everything and restoration a long term commitment.
Andy Russell, Operational Site Manager, began by flail mowing the meadow, cutting as close to the ground as possible. It was then scarified – strips of loosened grass were created, opening up the sward in preparation for sowing. Seed was sown using 'fiddlers' a traditional seed spreading device; the seed was a meadow mixture for wetlands. The seeded areas were then rolled to help germination.
Hay cuts will continue once or twice each summer. This is to ensure that meadow grasses and flowers can flower and set seed but are not overwhelmed by less desirable thuggish plants.