Volunteering

Our enthusiastic volunteers continue to join us planting seeds and pricking out wild flower seedlings in the poly tunnel we meet on Monday Wednesday and Friday mornings and if you would like to join us please email us via the contact page. Our next outdoor socially isolated volunteer sessions are Wednesday 2nd June 6.30pm-7.30pm and Sunday 6th June 4-6pm when we will be planting out the plug plants and planting some of the donated ” barn sweepings” by raking it into bare earth.

Species rich barn sweepings

A wonderful donation of three sacks of species rich ‘barn sweepings’ from hay from local species rich meadows donated by Cath and Bill Grayson, local conservation graziers. The barn sweepings will contain lots of fine meadow grasses, meadow buttercups, red clover eyebright and the fine seeds of orchids which appear as dust and have fallen from the hay onto the barn floor. We are going to add these to some of the bare areas of the meadow, especially where the moles have been active and where we are removing docks. Some will also be donated to local meadow makers to help them get their meadows established. Thank you Bill and Cath your donation is much appreciated and will be well used.

A meadow in creation…

Our brilliant volunteers turned out to plant 300 wild flower plug plants in an isolated plug planting session, in addition to growing them too! This brings the total of wild flowers planted to 550. Thank you all.

Volunteers also cleared the site of two big sacks of old baler twine and baler plastic wrap

Thank you to our funders Halton Lune Hydro and The Areti Charitable Trust who have generously supported this community project. All the wild flowers are grown in Lancaster City Council poly tunnel. If you would like to join us on any of these planting sessions please get in touch.

Getting the Buzz

The first community plug planting gets underway on the meadow with Common knapweed, a plant we selected for our logo planted first. This project to grow plug plants has been sponsored by The Areti Charitable Trust with support from Lancaster City Council. The Lune Hydro Trust grant has enabled us to purchase sharp sand and these fabulous long handled trowels. Thank you to all sponsors and our volunteers.

WORKING IN THE POLY TUNNEL

Work in the poly tunnels continues with our ever increasing volunteer team, growing locally harvested wild flower seed as plug plants which will be planted onto the meadow with volunteer help. It is our long term aim to support other local wild flower projects too. If you would like to join us please get in touch via our contact page. This project is supported by Lancaster City Council and funded by The Areti Charitable Trust with grateful thanks.

Wild flower plugs picked out and transplanted into planting cells.

We are growing wild flowers which are naturally present in this area from local seed which has been collected from Bell Sykes Coronation Meadow, Gait Barrows Reserve and local sites. We are aiming to grow wild flowers which are usually more difficult to establish in a species rich hay meadow.

Wildflower plug planting gets underway

We have started wild flower plug planting for the meadow. The plugs will enhance the lower 1/3 of the site which was planted with wildflower seed from Bell Sykes Coronation Meadow and Gait Barrows Reserve in Autumn 2020. Thank you to Lancaster City Council for use of the poly tunnel space. We are growing once common wild flowers which are found naturally in this area. Not only will these provide pollen and nectar for pollinators they are the larval food plants for many species of butterflies and moths.

Poly tunnel enables charity to grow wild flower plugs

A licence from Lancaster City Council has provided an excellent opportunity to enable the charity to grow wild flower plugs for Hermitage Field Community Meadow, other local wild flower areas and contribute wild flower plugs and seed of local provenance to the Councils own Grassland Management project. Funding from the Areti Charitable Trust has enabled us to expand this project considerably. Post lockdown we will be working with and training local volunteers to grow and care for wild flowers at the Councils Westgate Depot.

A combination of wet benches and dry potting areas will allow volunteers to grow and raise plugs.

Thank you to the Lancaster City Council team who have supported this project and renovated the poly tunnel.

Crook O’Lune beauty spot gets new lease of life as a wildflower meadow

A beauty spot at the Crook O’Lune near Lancaster, known locally as Hermitage Field, is getting a new lease of life as a wildflower meadow.

A formal 12 year license agreement has been finalised between Lancaster City Council as owner of the site and charitable residents’ group, Hermitage Field Community Meadow. The agreement will allow the group to manage a five acre plot of land in the field on the council’s behalf as a wildflower meadow.

Hermitage Field already contributes to the area being a popular place to visit, with car park and picnic facilities nearby, as well as stunning views across the Lune Valley.  The remaining two acres at the centre of the field is already being managed by charity ‘Life for a Life’, as a memorial forest under a separate licence.

The Hermitage Field Community Meadow charity was recently set up by a group of local residents and has already acquired funding to help them create and manage the meadow.  Work has begun on preparing the land before new planting can take place later in the year.  The aim of the project is to develop an attractive and enhanced landscape at the popular site which will complement the new memorial forest.

The paths running through the site and parallel with the road will be retained and maintained to enable visitors to the Crook O’Lune to enjoy access to the field.

Councillor Kevin Frea, Cabinet member for climate action and member of Crook O’Lune Advisory Committee, said: “The creation and development of a wildflower meadow at Hermitage Field by local people that are passionate about the conservation of this special place, has provided the council with another perfect opportunity to breathe new life into this treasured beauty spot. 

“As well as looking incredibly attractive and complementing the natural beauty of the memorial forest on the same site, the new arrangement will also have massive ecologicalbenefits.  Introducing pollinating plants and enticing pollinating bees, insects and other wildlife to the site will increase biodiversity as well provide a local seed bank for other potential meadows.”

“The arrangement also supports the aims of the council’s new grassland management strategy which will see changes to the way grass is cut in local parks and public spaces,again tohelp increase biodiversity and meet the council’s climate change commitments.”

The initiative was spearheaded by local resident and trustee of the charity, Erica Sarney who initially set up a group called the Community Pollinator Patches and formed the charity with a group of like-minded friends.

Erica said: “We’re very much looking forward to getting this exciting project off the ground and creating a stunning meadow teeming with wildflowers and wildlife for everyone to enjoy. Local people love this area so much and which is also part of a popular ramble overlooking the Lune Valley towards Ingleborough.

“We really hope everyone enjoys the meadow and may be inspired to come and join us, when restrictions allow, to help us bring it to life.  For more information and how you can get involved, visit our website at www.hermitagefieldcommunitymeadow.com.”

The charity has secured funding from Plantlife, The Areti Charitable Trust, Halton Lune Hydro Trust, Forest of Bowland AONB and Life for a Life Memorial Forests. Part of the site has already been sown with seed from Lancashire’s Coronation Meadow at Bell Sykes Farm, Forest of Bowland AONB, as well as Gait Barrows Reserve in Silverdale. The project will be growing wildflowers with volunteers in polytunnels at the council’s White Lund Depot in Morecambe.

Trustees Erica Sarney. Pam Woolgar, Kath Milnes mixing wild flower seed from Bell Sykes Coronation meadow and Gait Barrows Reserve with Phil Milnes looking on. Image Credit Claire Cornish.