Sunday, 19 July 2015
A plea for an arable time capsule
The farm came up for sale two years ago and was purchased by the Woodland Trust, whose worthy aim is to plant a woodland to commemorate the centenary of the Great War. Trouble is, such actions will extinguish the botanical gems that the area holds, species that are being systematically destroyed across the country.
Field work carried out across the farm so far this year has revealed that the margins have not been ploughed, which has resulted in the crops growing up to the hedgerow/woodland edge and rank grasses taking over any bare areas - meaning that the uncommon arable flora cannot grow. As far as I understand, farming ceases in 2016. So what does the future hold for the site?
It can only be hoped that the Woodland Trust will understand what treasures lie on their land and will be sympathetic to the keeping and maintenance of some of this arable wonderland. Woodland can still be planted - it's a large area - but hopefully arable areas can be kept. The seed bank for these plants can be long-lived, so a year or two of disappearance needn't mean extinction. Such a suite of species is rare indeed in 2015. It would be a crying shame if they are all lost.