Barton Fields, 2nd September 2017

For this session, we were helping the Abingdon Naturalists Green Team to rake and stack the hay on the wildflower meadow. The meadow had been mown on Tuesday and there had been Green Team sessions on Wednesday and Thursday to rake the grass into piles and stack it in designated areas around the meadow. A lot of work remained to be done, so it was encouraging that ten Green Gymmers and several of the Green Team turned out to help.

The hay needs to be raked up and stacked as soon as possible after mowing so the nutrients do not leach back into the soil. To have abundant wild flowers in a meadow, the soil must not be too rich.

Fortunately the weather had been dry and sunny on Friday and was dry and sunny once again on Saturday.

We set to work with pitchforks, drag bags and plastic sheets to move the raked hay to the piles at the sides of the meadow. It was hard work, but we made good progress. From time to time we came across small toads and transported them to safety in the longer grass.

David had brought chocolate brioches for the break, and this was very welcome sustenance. He then conducted a tour of the Barton Fields area including the ponds, as some Green Gymmers had not worked here before.

Then it was back to work, clearing not just the main meadow, but the two smaller areas beyond it. We also needed to do a second raking of the residue, that had been missed or dropped first time round. Everybody worked very hard and by 12.30, the job was finished and we went home for a well earned rest.


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