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Nature reserve is showcasing the best of East Staffordshire’s wildlife

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 23, 2014

  • 20/05/14 Brankley pastures Wildflower Meadow Day

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Located in Scotch Hill, it was previously used for arable farming, the land has now been restored into an open meadow that has allowed a variety of wildflowers to grow, attracting a range of insects and other wildlife.

A designated route has also been set up that allows visitors to take in the peace and tranquillity of its surroundings while also keeping an eye out for the birds and bees that call it home. The trust’s aim is to create a place for both wildlife and people to enjoy.

Visitor experience co-ordinator Cathy Taylor has been working at the meadow for the past six weeks. She told the Mail: “We’ve used a process called soil inversion, which means that the top layer of soil ends up further underground, while the deeper soil becomes the top layer. The moss in the top soil, which stops wildflowers from growing, are then buried.”

“We took hay cuttings from our other nature reserves and scattered it over the ground with a wildflower seed mix, which have now began to grow in the meadow. Over time the whole meadow will be full of wildflowers. “Something like this is quite rare as herbicides are often used and this weekend we’re inviting people to come up and look at the flowers.”

Cathy will also be doing a guided walk, introducing visitors to the different types of wildflower growing in the meadow and pointing out other aspects of the East Staffordshire wildlife. With the number of bees continuing to fall, Cathy says that the meadow is particularly useful to their existence within the county.

She added: “The wildflowers allow bees to pollinate, and we all know that the number of bees is decreasing. The meadow is only going to get better in the coming years.”

In the afternoon, between 1 and 4pm she will be focussing on educating children about what can be found within the nature reserve. Older children will be able to take part in a quiz and find different types of flowers, while those who are younger will be encouraged to take on the role of pollinating bees.

Cathy explained: “We want as many people as possible to come down here and enjoy what’s on their doorstep. The guided walk I’m doing will take about an hour and a half and I’ll be pointing out bits of information on the way. Some of the oak trees we have in the reserve are over 400 years old.

“In the afternoon I’ll be around to talk to children and tell them about what has changed over the past 100 years.”

After Saturday’s event, the nature reserve will be open for members of the public to enjoy free of charge all year round, with the walking route marked out and a board on display that gives a brief outline of the reserve and the nature that can be found within.

The guided walk will start at 10am on Saturday and anyone that wishes to join Cathy can book by emailing info@staffs-wildlife.org.uk or calling 01889 880100.

It is free to attend but a donation of £2 is recommended for the walk and take-home children’s activities.

Dogs are permitted in the reserve as long as they are kept on a lead. For more information visit www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk

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