Fancy a spot of thistle thwarting?

No, not a new local custom! To cut or not to cut? That’s been the recent local debate about mowing Lot 7 which was knee high in grasses and wildflowers. (Lot 7 is the piece of land bought back in March on behalf of the community to preserve it for future generations.)  The call went out to local people to come and chop the thistles that might spread to neighbouring farmland. Pictured here are Jenny Galton-Fenzi, Anna Ash, John Todd and Sandra Law who together with Jill Todd (pictured separately in a bush) and Ali Taylor spent a happy evening nattering and enjoying the beautiful setting and wildlife. The flat area has now been mown and the orchard area left for the moment.

A wide range of wildflowers had appeared and as one local said: It’s refreshing to see the land used for something other than grazing. Whilst that remains important, we also need to try and reverse the significant level of decline in biodiversity. The UK has lost 97% of its meadows since World War II and now we are seeing unprecedented declines in wildlife, particularly the pollinators, which, if left unchecked, will one day have repercussions for all of us. Hopefully (with the right advice) we can find a way of improving the odds a little for wildlife, whilst retaining enough control so the village does not disappear under a forest of thistles!

An expert lichenologist who visited the site recently was hugely knowledgeable about wildlife in general, and amongst other things identified a Lesser Whitethroat singing in Lot 7 (she thought possibly nesting in one of the bramble clumps), two male Beautiful Demoiselles dancing around down by the river, and she also pointed out the patches of Bird’s Foot Trefoil, favourite food plant of Small Blue butterflies, and the many spikes of Sorrel, favoured by Small Copper butterflies.

On Monday 2nd July at 7pm, a meeting in the Community Space in Littlehempston Church will consider management options for the land, together with how this large piece of land, which includes an orchard, can be best maintained.