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Re-flowering Redesdale

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Meadows were identified within Redesdale with the potential to be significantly botanically enhanced to create species rich hay meadows, with iconic species such as wood cranesbill, hawkbit and greater burnet. Hay meadow management is also an important part of upland stock farm management to provide winter forage.

The work undertaken through this project sought to increase the floral diversity of hay meadows and the network for pollinators in Redesdale by focusing on meadows, greenspaces within village hubs and along verges and lay-bys. There are a number of meadows in Redesdale in stewardship schemes, but the farmers didn’t have access to the relevant seed or plants to improve the sward. The project helped provide a source of appropriate plants, training and support to farmers and community volunteers around the traditional management of hay meadows. In time it will also enhance the visual attractiveness of grassland across Redesdale by increasing the number of flowering plants in verges and local greenspace.

The projects aimed to:

  • Improve management of existing priority habitats.
  • Help to restore degraded sites to reach priority habitat status.
  • Diversify sward on sites that are not priority habitat but may support nectar sources for pollinating insects.
  • Engage farmers and the local community in activities which improve the floral diversity of grassland across Redesdale, through training courses and volunteer days (scything, scarifying, seed collection, and planting plug plants).
  • Work with volunteers to develop wildflower nurseries to provide plug plants for use in the valley.
  • Raise awareness of the value of species rich grassland and the flowers and pollinators it supports through interpretation and events.

Sites that were identified for works to increase their floral diversity included Corsenside Churchyard (see here for more information), Otterburn Mill stream bank and sites in Byrness and Redesmouth. A volunteer group, Friends of Corsenside, set up to work with the community to celebrate and protect the rich cultural heritage, landscape and wildlife of Corsenside Parish and the wider surrounding area, undertook meadow creation activities at Corsenside Church.

For future volunteering opportunities to help support natural Redesdale see Get Involved / Volunteering.