Native Wildflower Meadows and Traditional Orchards
The UK has lost around 97% of its wildflower meadows since the Second World War. Similarly, traditional orchards have declined by 90% since the 1950s due to neglect, development or being converted to modern intensive orchards. This matters because there has also been a corresponding massive decline in the insect population. Insects aren’t cute and we either ignore them or see them as a nuisance but they pollinate many of our flowers, fruits and vegetables. Without them we would literally starve. It’s also often overlooked but insects also break down and dispose of waste matter, dead animals and plants. Without this critical function we would soon be knee deep in detritus. In any case, don’t we all love seeing beautiful butterflies, spring blossom on trees, colourful wild flowers and textured grasses?
To this end, The WEG is restoring three wildflower meadows and three traditional orchards in Warndon Villages, Worcester, UK. These are:
Aconbury comprises almost 2 hectares of meadow and orchard. The old traditional orchard is a good example of ancient orchards in Worcestershire and the surrounding counties that have largely disappeared. You would be astonished by the wildlife that can flourish in this habitat if it is taken care of carefully. In a recent night time moth survey over seventy night moths were found to be making this beautiful location their home. We highly recommend a walk around there. It’s very peaceful and very beautiful.
There is also a newly planted orchard with local varieties of heritage fruit trees. This will be a magnificent traditional orchard for generations to come. Both orchards and the surrounding fields are being managed in the way that traditional hay meadows have been for hundreds of years. This involves the grass and wildflowers being cut and collected two to three
times a year. This reduces the fertility over time and provides just the right environment for the native wildflowers to flourish. This regime was begun in the summer of 2019, with volunteers working extremely hard to clear the fields of thorny pioneer scrub and ragwort (a noxious weed for livestock, if the hay they eat contains large amounts of it).
We are thrilled to report that after just one year of taking care of this beautiful location, lots of native wildflowers are being enjoyed by local walkers and wildlife. These include, purple vetch, meadow vetchling, birds foot, yellow rattle, knapweed, creeping buttercup, meadows cranesbill, lady’s bedstraw, common vetch, ribwort plantain, oxeye daisy and grass vetchling. We highly recommend a visit to this beautiful site. It’s a great place to walk your dog, take your kids and even have a picnic.
This lovely field is tucked away on a quiet walkway and is being restored as a wildflower meadow with the same cut and collect regime as Aconbury and Hillmeadow. It’s only a short walk from Tesco Supermarket. Why not take a stroll to unwind there before you do your shopping?
This beautiful meadow is situated very near to the ancient 12th century parish church of St Nicholas, and many stunning old buildings that were there a long time before Warndon Villages was built. This field is being restored as a meadow with the same cut and collect regime as Aconbury and Trotshill Field. Look out for slow worms!
Trotshill Community Orchard
Trotshill Community Orchard lies off Trotshill Lane East in Warndon Villages, Worcester. It contains a Black Pear tree which is the only remaining remnant of an ancient orchard. This tree had become overgrown with brambles and was rescued in 2010 by Worcester Orchard Workers in conjunction with Worcester City Council You will find apple, greengage, plum, raspberries and delicious mulberries. Food for free for you and your family. Why not join us in taking care of this beautiful orchard with a wonderful bunch of volunteers?
Making Space for Nature in Our Gardens
If you look at a satellite map of Worcester it strikes you how much connected green space we have in our gardens throughout the city. They present a golden opportunity for us to make space for nature in our gardens. Imagine the mood-boosting benefits of having a wildlife pond, flowers for pollinators, a native wildflower patch, a bug hotel, hedgehog house or a bird or bat box in your garden. Click here to to take action.