The first pilot site was established at Ruan Lanihorne in 2016, followed by a small area at Gerrans in 2017. In 2018 the site at Gerrans was enlarged to cover a larger area. Three more sites were established in 2019, part of an eight acre field at Veryan, a small banked area at Gerrans and a small grass area at Treworthal.
All of the below sites have been identified to develop as mini meadows, to enhance the diversity of wild flowers and encourage our declining bees, butterflies and other important pollinating species. These sites are also an opportunity to show what can be done by everyone in their gardens to help. Each site will be monitored to record the success of the sowing and to see what other species might appear as management regimes change.
Ruan Chapel Layby, Ruan Lanihorne
This site was the first to be developed and locally known as “the banana” because of its shape. Before anything could be done the ground needed to be prepared. The grass was cut very short several times and eventually rotovated. Once this had been done, yellow rattle and a wildflower seed mixture were sown. Yellow rattle is an annual semi parasitic plant which helps to suppress the growth of faster growing grasses. The yellow rattle did well and Cornwall Council Highways are particularly interested in this. We are now trialling bluebells, foxgloves, oxeye daisies and primroses there. So far quite a few bluebells have become established.
Gwarak Gwel an Mor, Gerrans
Following a pilot project in 2017 when a small section of this steeply sloping grassland at the entrance to the road was sown with wild flower seeds we are now managing a much larger area.
Contractors cut the site at the beginning of October 2018 and tools were available for volunteers to use to help remove the cuttings and make a habitat pile. Removal is important to gradually reduce soil fertility and to open up space for any further sowing and for germination from the seed bank.
At the end of October 2018, volunteers returned to finish raking off the cuttings, plant flower plugs and sow wildflower seed mixtures. The seed mixture and plug plants were bought from recommended outlets. Also clumps of ox eye daisy were planted, these had come from volunteer’s gardens and yellow rattle seeds sown, these had been harvested from the site at Ruan Lanihorne. Sowing the seed in October allowed vernalisation over the winter and encouraged seed germination. Further sowing and planting was done in the spring of 2019. We hope that the rest of the site will be cut again this year and become more suitable for further sowing next year. We may need to control non native alexanders and monbretia along with bramble.
Treloan Car Park, Gerrans
In 2019 Gerrans Parish Council invited Wild Roseland to consider developing a second site in the parish on the boundary bank in Treloan Car Park. One side of the site is currently mainly grass with dock, nettle and other species indicating a fairly rich soil.
This year we experimented with sowing some small plots in association with the primary school and if successful we might be able to develop this further next year. After the turf was removed from five four square metre patches by WR volunteers, 20 of the younger children from the school planted oxeye daisy and foxglove plants and sowed wild flower mixes. During the summer term further visits by the children will be arranged for watering if required and controlling aggressive weed species as well as to monitor and record what is growing. We are hoping that a notice board can be erected here to explain the project to visitors to the car park.
Churchtown Farm, Veryan
In Spring 2019 we took on our biggest site yet. We are delighted that we can now develop a large area close to Veryan on farmland managed by Mike Harrison who is very supportive of Wild Roseland and the objectives of the project. Mike prepared the soil for us by ploughing, burying the grass and bringing the less fertile soil to the surface, followed by harrowing. Further raking by volunteers provided a good seed bed to receive the seed mixes broadcast by hand.
Approximately 1000 square metres (0.1 hectare which is about 0.25 acre) have been sown and this is the only site where we are starting from scratch. A mixture of arable weeds (corn marigold, cornflower, poppy etc) was sown which should provide a colourful display this summer along with perennials which will hopefully establish and flower from 2020 onwards. These include a variety of species suitable for the conditions including plants like viper’s bugloss and borage which are particularly attractive to pollinators. As well as monitoring the plants it would be good to check on butterflies, bees and other insects visiting this summer.
As the site is next to a road Mike is happy for Wild Roseland to put up a notice explaining what we are doing and to encourage people to stop and look. We will need to undertake a number of visits to this site during the late spring and summer to hoe out any aggressive weeds. A local beekeeper is also interested in putting hives on the site once it is established.
The Green at Treworthal
In April 2019 we took on a fifth site, a small patch of grass in the centre of Treworthal within Philleigh parish. Owner Derek Julyan was happy for us to establish wild flowers and helped with an initial cut and will continue to maintain a margin to allow access. We planted some foxglove and oxeye daisy plants and sowed a few patches with a seed mix including yellow rattle, a semi parasitic plant which should reduce the vigour of the established grasses. Hopefully we can develop this site further later in the year.