Stroud's wildflower meadow in full bloom thanks to volunteers
By Matt Hall | 21st August 2020
A meadow of wildflowers blossomed at Capel's Mill this summer thanks to the efforts of volunteers from Stroud Valleys Project (SVP) and Nailsworth Rotary Club.
SVP project manager Fred Miller, who organised the working parties, said: "Wild flowers such as Lady's Bedstraw, Wild Carrot and Birds Foot Trefoil are just some of the flora that have done well this year, possibly due to the hot dry weather in May."
During August and September, the work teams are mowing the meadow by hand using Austrian-style scythes. This ensures that a variety of flowers can thrive whilst the grass, dock and bramble do not get a chance to dominate. The meadow plants are mown at this time to ensure that they have set seed. The stems are left lying on the ground for a couple of weeks in order to dry and scatter the seeds to ensure new plants germinate to replace old ones.
Some flower species last several years, but some, such as wild carrot, live only two years, hence the need for this regeneration to take place. Some of the seeds are collected up on a tarpaulin, to sow on other sites, thereby spreading this valuable habitat, which is so important to butterflies, moths, beetles and crickets.
''At this time of year, if people trample through the meadow they actually help it - 'many feet make light work' - knocking seeds from the flower heads and pushing them into the soil," said Mr Miller.
Capels Mill is beside the restored canal near Waitrose and is well used by walkers, picnickers, nature watchers and canoeists. It links the town to the canal, and other local footpaths. The use of such local green spaces continues to be vital for the well-being of the community, in terms of exercise and mental health.
"But although we look after Capel's Mill it is a space for everyone to enjoy and look after including taking away litter," he added.
The site was created in 2014, by the canal regeneration project lead by Stroud District Council. From the start, Nailsworth Rotary Club has supported the project, forming a regular volunteer team which comes on a monthly basis to do litter-picking, carpentry, pruning, mulching and making pathways through trees and meadow. Alongside this, there are supporters who live on the doorstep who come to plant trees and remove litter in their own time.
Further plans at Capels Mill include a climate cairn and a mural.
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