Coastal wildflowers delight
The creation of and caring for coastal wildflower meadows is a crucial part of the Trust’s conservation work in North Cornwall. Spring and early summer sees an abundance of flowers providing an attractive habitat to a number of insects such as bumblebees, soldier beetles and butterflies. Flowers to look out for include birds foot trefoil, yellow rattle, eyebright and ox eye daisy.
Where can I see them?
There are projects running at a number of places including Trevose Head, Pentire Head, the stitches above Boscastle and near Sandymouth.
Wildflowers on the cliffs near Sandymouth, Bude are on the increase thanks to an innovative partnership with another conservation charity.
Jeff Cherrington, Lead Ranger for the area, has been working with Devon Wildlife Trust since 2016 to recreate internationally important wildflower meadows. The flower rich coastal grasslands had been in decline since the 1950’s and now this joint working is bringing them back.
How are wildflower meadows created?
The project near Sandymouth started with the Devon Wildlife Trust harvesting over 60kg of seed from a wildflower rich meadow in Boscastle in 2015. The fields owned by the National Trust between Sandymouth and Duckpool were harrowed to create spaces for the seed to germinate in. Then, after being cleaned and dried, the seed was spread over four hectares (about four football pitches) of fields in the autumn. Coastal wildflowers have been flourishing every summer since.
The other essential ingredient to the partnership is the National Trust’s tenant farmer, Tom Hasson. He has altered his grazing so his stock are in the fields from autumn to early spring which allows the wildflowers to set seed in the summer.
The work has been part funded by Natural England through its Higher Level Stewardship scheme, which has enabled the work to go ahead.
Jeff said “It’s great to see the flowers thriving. As part of the Trust’s wider Land Outdoors and Nature work we’re hoping to do more of this landscape scale improvement, to create a wide coastal corridor to benefit wildlife that people can enjoy when out walking.”