Abbey Fields Meadow Walk – 30 June 2018
On Saturday 30 June, Marilyn Lowe and Peter Larkin, who are Amateur Naturalists, led our annual Meadow Walk. This was a well attended event with some 26 people who were keen to find out more about the plants that Abbey Fields has in its meadows. Abbey Fields is lucky to have a number of different areas of meadow including a swathe of Acid Grass which survives because of the geology in that part and the careful management by the WDC Parks Maintenance Team. We were able to see how well the wildflower meadow is progressing.
Peter and Marilyn were introduced to the attendees by Joy Marjoram of FOAF and they quickly had us interested in the plants that were likely to see as we walked round the Wildflower meadow.
Photographs by David Emsley
As it was at the end of June most of the flowering had completed, however Peter and Marilyn were able to show us many of the plants they had already identified. They explained that it was sometimes difficult to identify some of the plants with certainty as grasses such as Marsh Foxtail and Meadow Foxtail could cross pollinate which resulted in hybrids. It would not be long before this meadow would be mown, rolled and baled.
List of Plants seen
Black Knapweed* (probably a hybrid with Slender Knapweed)
Great Hairy Willowherb
Ox Eye Daisy
Common Couch Grass
Sweet Vernal Grass
Inevitably, a rather cursory list, but a good cross-selection of plants which indicates the meadow is developing well in terms of genuine meadow land in aid of bio-diversity, and not simply a floral extra. The great advantage of the site is that it combines dryer conditions at the top of the slope with a much damper habitat nearer the brook. There is a limit to the range of plants we can expect to survive, though there could be another attempt to plant orchids in the wetter sections, but they are difficult to establish.
David Emsley FOAF