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EuCAN helping to create a community wildflower meadow and orchard in Hazelbury Bryan

We have been working with the Parish Council in the north Dorset village of Hazelbury Bryan to enhance the area known as ‘the Keep’ field for the community and for wildlife. A group of eight volunteers from the Somerset EuCAN group spent a day in the first week of March planting four fruit trees (apple varieties Jupiter and Laxton’s Superb, Conference Pear and Victoria Plum) and building tree enclosures for them; fencing off an area which will be planted with native shrubs like hawthorn, willow, Wayfaring tree, Cherry Plum and wild pear etc  and replacing part of the boundary fence.

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The plan is to graze the site as soon as is practicable with Fell ponies belonging to a local family; the ponies will eat down the coarse grasses and allow the wildflower species to flourish there.

Last season we began this work by cutting areas of the rank grass that has built up over several years of neglect, breaking up the surface and scattering locally-sourced Yellow Rattle seeds. Yellow Rattle is a semi-parasite which can improve grassland for wildflowers by reducing the vigour of the grass sward. We also held two sessions in the summer of 2016 to catalogue the wildlife of the field, with a bughunt for the local school.

Daniel Greenwood has written an interesting piece about the Cotswolds AONB work in Gloucestershire to enhance some of the grasslands there through the Our Magnificent Meadows Project. Read about it here.

Please get in touch if you would like to be involved in this project.