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NT News: Wildflower seed sowing in the Stroud Valleys


NT News: Wildflower seed sowing in the Stroud Valleys

Over eleven hectares of land in the Stroud valleys will be sown with a nature friendly mix of wildflower seeds this autumn.
 
The area, which is equivalent to approximately five football pitches, includes land owned and managed by the National Trust as well as fields belonging to private landowners.   
 
The wildflower seeds were collected earlier this summer by National Trust rangers and volunteers as part of the Stroud Landscape Project. They include species like yellow rattle, lady’s bedstraw, knapweeds, orchids and oxeye daisies – all characteristic species of Cotswold limestone meadows. It is hoped that over time as the wildflowers establish, traditional grassland habitats will be created that support an abundance of insects and other invertebrates.
 
In March, National Trust rangers purchased a seed harvester. Over the summer, the machine collected nearly 280kg of wildflower seeds from fields around the town of Stroud. One of the places that will benefit from the collected seed is the Bristol and Gloucestershire Gliding Club, near Nympsfield. The Gliding Club have been working with the National Trust’s Stroud Landscape Project for the past year. Harvested seed from land managed by the Trust will be sown on fields owned by the club later this autumn. Richard Starling, Head Groundsman at the Gliding Club explains: ‘It is in everyone’s interest to try and create an environment which is supportive of as much wildlife as possible.’ 
 
Area Ranger Max Dancer, who looks after Woodchester Park says: ‘Autumn is the best time to sow certain types of wildflower seeds. The ground is still warm from the summer but it’s starting to cool down and become wet. Seeds like yellow rattle need to be exposed to cold weather for them to germinate.’
 

Harvesting and sowing wildflower seeds is being championed by Lead Ranger David Armstrong, who is managing the Stroud Landscape Project. He has been looking at the variety of wildflower habitats across the south Cotswolds.
 
David says: ‘It’s great that so many landowners, like the Gliding Club are supporting our work. With its limestone grasslands, the Stroud landscape supports so many important species that we could easily lose forever. We’re taking decisive action to reconnect and revitalise this magnificent stretch of the Cotswolds so wildlife can not only recover, but prosper long into the future.’
 

The Stroud Landscape Project is working with partners to create more spaces for nature and make the network of wildlife sites bigger, better and more joined up. A big part of this is establishing high quality sites, with wildlife corridors between them that allow for movement across the Stroud valleys.
 
The project has recently launched the Stroud Landscape Appeal to help reverse the decline in nature around the town. Find out more at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/appeal/stroud-landscape-appeal.


Explore Gloucestershire
29 October 2019


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