Hawley Meadows Power Planting

Mid-autumn is the perfect time to sow wildflower seeds and that’s just what we have been doing here at Blackwater Valley.

At the beginning of October, I was joined by BVC Trustees Bernard and Chris and volunteers Edmund, Jeremy and Paul at Hawley Meadows. We kicked off a season of wildflowers by planting Devil’s Bit Scabious, A pretty and vulnerable wildflower suitable for the type of grassland we were working on. Grown from a single plant (that Steve Bailey saved from a now non-existent meadow) into 130 plants, we had our work cut out for us.

First, we had to prepare the ground by strimming a 50cm x 50cm patch in order to reduce the grass thickness. Then the volunteers used hefty spades to dig up the turf in that patch. This was tough going as the sun was beating down and the grass was very thick. They then churned up the soil and finally planted between 2 to 4 Devil’s Bit Scabious plants within that space. We moved up and down Long and Rushy Meadow, planting as we went, to distribute the plants well and give them a good chance of thriving.

HM Devils bit scabious

Devil’s Bit Scabious planted.

Once the back-breaking work was finished we sowed some wildflower seeds on the disturbed ground along the new path and within the patches we had dug. The seeds, collected by Steve and Paul, included Great Burnet, Betony and Bird’s-Foot Trefoil.

Thank you very much to Bernard, Chris, Edmund, Jeremy and Paul for your help. I can’t wait to come back in June and hopefully see the plants flowering. If you would like to join me then please follow the link to find Hawley Meadows and the location of the new plants.

Acting Ranger Jenny

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About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
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