This session was at Barton Fields, to help the Abingdon Naturalists Green Team, led by David Guyoncourt, rake up and stack the hay from the wildflower meadow, which had been cut on Wednesday.
We thought that we might muster only a few Green Gym members as it was Bank Holiday weekend, but in fact nine turned up. Once again we were really lucky with the weather.
The Green Team had already been hard at work on Thursday and Friday raking the hay into piles and stacking it at the sides of the meadow. It's important to rake it up as soon as possible after the cut, otherwise nutrients leach into the soil, making it too rich. This not good news for wild flower meadows, which need poor soil.
There were lots of piles that needed shifting so we set to work with tarpaulins and drag bags while a few people went down to the lower meadow, where the hay still needed raking. Another reason for moving the piles quickly is the risk that some late night revellers will set fire to them. Despite the recent rain and general dampness this was exactly what had happened to one of the piles.
It was hot work, so we were glad of a break. David had provided croissants and currant buns and we contributed cake left over from last week's picnic. By the end of the morning we had shifted all the piles and had begun to rake up the residue. The hay stacked at the edges of the meadow will provide cosy winter quarters for a variety of wildlife.
|James loads hay on to a tarpaulin.|
|Green Team members unload hay on to the pile.|
|Ursula and Kate rake the lower meadow.|
|Colin with his trolley.|
|Dieuwke and Kristine.|
|A welcome break.|