Wildflower Wonderland

This year the BVC Trust began a major project to improve the understory of our woodlands across the valley.

As they are, the floor of our woodlands is mostly comprised of bramble and nettles due to a lack of connectivity with other sites. Wildflowers are less likely to be able to spread naturally if there are no wildflower rich areas next door. In the past, well-meaning people have tried to improve the view by planting non-native species such as Daffodils and Spanish Bluebells. Unfortunately, Spanish Bluebells hybridise with British Bluebells until eventually there are no native plants left.

native bluebell

Native Bluebells

To tackle these issues, improve the aesthetics of the woodland for users, and boost the local food sources for bees and butterflies, we have been sowing wildflower seeds. The seeds we planted were all native and suitable for the type of woodland we have. These included Bluebells, Red Campion, Lord’s and Ladies, Foxglove, Wood Avens and Primrose. Some of the Bluebell and Wood Avens seeds had been collected by the Southwood Woodland volunteer group back in July.

We began on the Wellesley Woodland site Puckridge. First, volunteers cut back invasive,  non-native Laurel and thinned tree saplings to create the right amount of light to reach the woodland floor. Next, the volunteers mixed seeds with sawdust so we could see where we had sown. The ground was then prepared by raking back the fallen leaves. The seeds were scattered on the raked patch. Finally, a layer of leaf litter was sprinkled on top to provide a compost and warmth.

It was a satisfying task and certainly something different for the volunteers who I’m sure will be glad to see the plants growing over the coming years.

With the Autumn nearly over we are now finished seed sowing. Altogether this year we managed to improve the understory of 5 local woodlands including (Wellesley Woodland) Rushmoor Bottom, Cove Brook woodland and Gerry’s Copse. Thank you very much to the Trust for their support and all the volunteers who attended the various tasks putting in the practical work.

Keep an eye out on our blog for updates on the progress and seed sowing adventures next year!

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’.
This entry was posted in A31 corridor, Aldershot Urban Extension, BV Path, BVR & A31, Conservation, Covebrook, education, Gerry's Copse, Southwoood, Volunteers, Wellesley Woodlands, Wildlife and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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