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Shropshire Wildlife Trust and idverde recently completed a project to trans-locate green hay (containing species-rich wildflower seed) from Lightmoor Nature Reserve in south Telford to a receiving site at the Granville.
The Climate Change Action Plan commits to restoring, enhancing or creating around 70ha of species-rich habitat over the next two years. This will deliver enhanced carbon capture and also address the biodiversity crisis.
Once the hay arrived it was strewn over two fields in the Granville (‘the Top of the World’) and the meadow that runs alongside the concrete road. The Granville receptor site was prepared beforehand, with an inch’s depth of ground being harrowed to create bare soil conditions, which the green hay seed bank needs to settle and germinate on.
Mark Latham, Ecology and Green Infrastructure Specialist, explained: “We’ve had to be very responsive to the good weather, and idverde have been excellent and responded really quickly to the opportunity and have own these meadows over the weekend and are tine harrowing today, ready to receive the hay.”
Timing is everything for the trans-location of green hay, due to the sensitivity of the seeds and the possible humidity. Ideally the green hay should be cut and strewn within 1-2 hours to avoid the seeds overheating and spoiling. This presented a logistical challenge for the cutting team and volunteers on the receiving end. The timing was perfect, with dry, fine weather lending itself to the efficient movement of the precious seed cargo.
97% of natural meadows have been lost since World War II due to a number of factors, including intensive agriculture and food production, to infrastructure projects and changes in land use.
Ross Bray, idverde and RSPB Community and Nature Engagement Officer, says: “If all goes well, this will enhance the diversity of the grassland species within the two meadows – better for pollinators, people and helping to address the need to increase our green estates’ ability to capture carbon.”