The Vile, bursting with colour and wildlife once again

National Trust Ranger, Mark Hipkin, inspecting the sunflowers at The Vile

The medieval strip fields in the Vile at Rhossili will be bursting with wildlife and colour again in 2019.

We’ve changed the way we’re farming on the Vile at Rhossili, managing the land in a productive wildlife friendly way. As part of the restoration project we’ve created new hay meadows and introduced wildlife friendly crops whilst restoring this ancient landscape.

2018 was a huge success for us, both from a wildlife and visitor perspective. In July thousands of sunflowers took over the Vile’s ancient strip fields, bringing a new wave of visitors and wildlife. But sunflowers weren’t the only thing flowering, throughout the year hay meadows full of poppies and lupin provided nature a home as well as plenty of food.

To enjoy this, we also opened a network of footpaths meaning people were able to explore parts of Rhossili they hadn’t seen before. 

This year, we hope to do it all over again, and more…

Summer must see

Our wildlife friendly crops of sunflowers will be making a return this year as they were such a success for butterflies, birds and bees. The sunflowers also proved a big hit with our visitors, especially those eager for that perfect photo backdrop. We expect the sunflowers to be at their best in July and August – let’s hope the Welsh weather will bring us plenty more long summer days.  

It won’t be just sunflowers you will see – we will also be planting lupins and linseed and our fields will also be full of wildflowers such as poppies and cornflowers.

From spring through to September, our flower rich hay meadows will be full of colour including ox eye daisies, knapweed and yellow rattle. Traditional hay meadows, like this, are a fantastic place for birds such as skylark.

Autumn harvest 

New this year is our wildlife orchard, which was planted over the winter with heritage crab apple varieties for wildlife to feast on in the late summer and autumn. Look out for the crop harvest taking place again this September. 

Winter conservation and spring planting

Last winter we re-instated more of the historical boundaries that make the Vile so unique – all of which will give wildlife such as weasels, stoats and farmland birds a place to feed and hide. 

Spring saw the planting of two thousands lavender plants. They provide food for insects during the summer and autumn, and are the most perfect place to sit, relax and enjoy the view. Catch them at their best whilst they flower from May to September.