We’ve been very busy in the north east meadow of Swanwick Lakes over the last couple of weeks. It looks absolutely fantastic, with a very flower rich sward. When you wander through, it is alive with crickets and butterflies. One day last week on a hot day, you couldn’t move for Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns.
We have spent a lot of time with brush-cutters, and some hardy volunteers, taking out the willow and bramble regrowth that would, in time, cause the meadow to scrub over and lose diversity. This is in preparation for the cows, who we shall move in the next few weeks.
This part of the site is targeted as wood pasture, so a scattering of trees is the overall aim. Over the last few years the team has been steadily thinning out the oaks, which may seem destructive but it creates this much more open woodland effect. Combine this with the flower rich grassland in between and you have a recipe for very high diversity, with a huge range of niches available. This is particularly important for invertebrates which then equates to more species up the food chain.
Not all the scrub is cleared. Chunks are being left for nesting birds with the aim to bring back Nightingale on site.
All in all, it is a very exciting part of the site, with a huge amount of potential that is steadily being reached.