Backwell Environment Trust

...15 years of conservation, protection, improvement...

Fabulous New Wildflower Meadow

If you have walked up the public footpath in Badgers Wood recently you will have been greeted by this wonderful sight!

Wildflowers closeup 700

Since BET started restoring Backwell Hill’s long-lost wildflower meadows, our philosophy has always been to open up an area and then let nature do the restoration work for us. However in 2016 we tried something new with a 100m2 patch of fledgling meadow close to the top of the Fern Way.

Inspiration came from the old Glassworks site (opposite Tesco) in Nailsea which was once alive with wildflowers before the area was landscaped a couple of years ago. Before the heavy machinery was brought in, volunteers from the Friends of Trendlewood Park collected as many seeds from the wildflowers as they could and transplanted them to a prepared site on the edge of the Golden Valley playing fields.

FOTP wildflowers

The next summer the saved wildflowers looked fabulous so it got me thinking, could we try something similar on BET’s reserves? So in the summer of 2016, we removed the ground cover of ivy and bramble, hedge-laid and removed some nearby trees to let in more light, and finally broke up the soil to create a seed bed.   Meadow Creation 700

In mid-September, the area was then seeded using UK-grown stock as well as seeds collected from BET’s own meadows.  We thought it would be fascinating to see just what would germinate in this trial meadow, but that we would probably have to wait for the summer of 2018 to see it in full bloom.

We were right!  The results the following year were quite sparse but this year just look at the fabulous display! 

Wildflowers 700

The flowers in full bloom shown here in June are dominated by the white Oxeye daisy and the blue Viper's bugloss. As the summer progresses, they will be followed by the purple reds of Greater knapweed, Musk mallow and Wild marjoram as well as the bright yellows of St. John's wort and members of the Cat's-ear and Hawkbit families, hopefully continuing this beautiful floral display well into the autumn. 

Ian Chambers

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