New wildflower meadow at Middleborough Hill

Bumblebee

In March we planted wildflowers seeds on Middleborough Hill to improve the area for people and wildlife.

Middleborough Hill in Croyde, adjacent to the Baggy Point car park and Sandleigh Tea Room, is undergoing a transformation, improving the area both for people and wildlife. The field, which previously has been sheep grazed and a seasonal overflow car park is being turned into a glorious wildflower meadow and orchard. It will be a place where wildlife can thrive, but also a place that connects people with nature with spaces to picnic, paths to walk on and areas to sit and watch the waves roll into the bay.

Just before lockdown National Trust rangers and local contractors managed to get out and sow wildflower seeds and plant the first 6 fruit trees in the orchard on Middleborough Hill. 
The seed mix contains lots of pollinator friendly plants such as clover and vetch, but also poppies and cornflowers which will be really eye catching especially when combined with the rugged backdrop of the North Devon coastline. As it stands it is hoped that they will be established and readily waiting for people to enjoy once lockdown is over, and hopefully the wildlife will be reaping the benefits even sooner.

Restoring a healthy, beautiful natural environment is at the heart of the National Trust’s ten year ‘Playing our Part’ strategy and are committed to making more space for nature. This work is part of a whole host of other projects on the North Devon coast and nationally to improve habitats in a way that people can enjoy.

" A lot of the wonderful wildlife on our property is not always readily accessible, people often associate seeing the spectacles that nature provides with having to go on grand and physically exertive adventures. This project gives us an opportunity to bring wildlife to those people who wouldn’t normally tackle the wilds of the South West coast-path. It will be a beautiful place to sit and enjoy. "
- Paul South

Baggy Point is a great site for many species including our native pollinators, and the meadow will hopefully improve that. Every year the point is surveyed for its wildlife, with special focus given to bumblebee numbers. One of particular interest is the Brown Banded Carder Bee last seen on Baggy in 2000, but with a strong population in the nearby Braunton Burrows.  This nationally important species was once found widely across Devon but is now confined to just a few small sites along the North Devon coast. This particular bee tends to fly later in the summer so there is often little forage for it to feed, as modern farming pressures tend to require fields to be cut much earlier in the year. 

The survey work is done in conjunction with Bumblebee conservation as part of their Westcountry Buzz project, the project focusses on improving bumblebee habitat across North Devon. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust have also contributed towards sowing the wildflower seed. It is great to be working in partnership this way; making places better for people and nature across organisations.