Last Tuesday we had a fantastic volunteer turn out for our annual hay cut of the wet meadow glade in Rushmoor Bottom. Glades and rides in woodlands provide a diversity of habitat particularly good for butterflies, dragonflies and reptiles. This glade is delightful in the summer months when the small but beautiful flower Enchanter’s Nightshade can be found bordering it’s edge.
The annual hay cut provides several functions. The first is keeping the glade open by clearing sapling and scrub. The other is to enhance the grasslands abundance of wildflowers.
By cutting the grass in mid summer and raking off the cutting we deplete the nutrients returned to the soil. The nutrient poor soil is just right for native wildflowers which are declining due to modern management techniques that use lots of fertilizer and regular cutting. As the hay cutting technique is repeated over the years the site will become more and more suitable for widlflowers.
In order to maintain the glades maximum diversity we left scalloped wet edges uncut. These scallop shaped sections were dominated by rushes and sedges which were better left to provide dense cover for invertebrates and amphibians.
Not content with finishing the whole glade the volunteers also cut back the overgrown entrance and installed a bin in the Rushmoor Bottom car park.
Thank you to everyone who devoted their time!
Ast. Ranger Jenny