Sunflowers at Rhosili
A spectacular sunflower display saw visitors and pollinators flock in their thousands to Rhosili last summer.
A feast for the senses, the swathes of sunflowers are part of our new approach to farming this stretch of beautiful coastline in a wildlife friendly way, transforming it into a haven for rare animals, birds and wild flowers.
Four rangers and eighty volunteers have spent the last 2 years faithfully recreating the 12th Century patchwork of fields on The Vile, creating 2,000 metres of new banks and hedges which had previously been removed after the Second World War in favour of modern, intensive farming methods.
Instead of just six fields, there are now seventeen which have been purposely planted with specially selected flowering crops to include half a million sunflowers, poppies, lavender and lupins which punctuate the crops of millet, wheat, oats, buckwheat, spelt, linseed and barley with ribbons of vibrant colour.
Amazing giant bird table
With the glorious sunshine, we have a very productive crop. We'd harvest the sunflowers in September using an old 1970’s combine harvester, which is small enough to turn in the restored narrow strip fields.
To help encourage wildlife, the team actively leave behind some of the crop. Seeds dry out and attract birds, for example, linnets are attracted to the linseed and the remaining sunflower seeds will feed overwintering birds on the coastline.
" By planting vast amounts of sunflowers, poppies and our other crops we have attracted more pollinators and birds. In fact, this year taking a walk through the sunflower fields we’ve seen a bumble bee on nearly every sunflower head which means we’re already sustaining a huge (or dramatically increased) population of bees."