Our work in the Dingle

Volunteers clearing ponds at Dudmaston

The Dingle is a rare and important landscape, a feature typical of the Picturesque movement in garden design that first became fashionable in the late 18th century. The idea was to create an artificial landscape that looked natural, with paths, seats and bridges enabling people to enjoy the result from different viewpoints.

Nurturing wildflowers to restore the original vistas

We have a team of volunteers working on the Dingle on Wednesday afternoons. They’ve cleared the overgrown woodland so that native wildflowers can thrive and visitors can enjoy the the vistas featured in the original design.

The Dingle already has a wide variety of wildflowers and we hope the range will increase. It's especially lovely in spring, filled with drifts of Primrose, Celandine, Wood Anemone, Bluebell, Lady’s Smock, Yellow Archangel, Dog Violet and Wood Sorrel.

Find your way through the Dingle
walking, woodland
Find your way through the Dingle

 

Using grazing to reduce future maintenance

The volunteers are now building a new fence around the perimeter so that we can introduce sheep. Grazing will prevent the Dingle from becoming overgrown again, keeping areas clear for wildflowers, and reduce the amount of time that our rangers spend on mechanical brush-cutting, freeing them to work on other conservation projects. The sheep will be a welcome feature of Dudmaston's historic landscape.

Planning our work carefully to minimise disturbance

As well as wildflowers, the Dingle is rich in birdlife. We had to delay some planned work because our resident Ravens nested early and we had to wait for the youngsters to fledge.

When the nesting season is over, we'll be removing some young trees to allow more light into the woodland. Tree-felling can raise concern amongst our walkers and wildlife watchers but controlling fast-growing and self-seeding species really helps less vigorous species to flourish. Nevertheless, the heavy machinery is disruptive so we'll make sure that the work is carefully timed and managed.

Waterfalls near Mill Pool in the Dingle
Dudmaston dingle waterfall
Waterfalls near Mill Pool in the Dingle

There are already plenty of signs that we're taking the right approach for the Dingle and we expect the remaining work to increase biodiversity further still.