Land management July 2016

Wheatland Farm is a conservation project in action. This month: mowing, pond management, netttles and thistles, haircut for the drive, Evie ave, summer grazing, ivy trim.

What? Mowing
Where? Everywhere!
Why? Well, not quite everywhere, but the paths, the orchard (apart from the designated long patches) the turbine walk if it needs it, and the patches below Balebarn Eco Lodge – where we’re preparing for some autumn sowing.

What? Continuing to remove water weed and bull rushes
Where? From the wildlife pond
Why? This is an ongoing summer job – especially to keep the bullrushes from taking over in the shallow water.

What? Pulling thistles and nettles
Where? Everywhere really, but especially in the field below Balebarn
Why? We spot sprayed earlier in the year but now there’s too much other plant life around in most of our ‘problem areas’. So it’s back to the back-breaking approach.

What? ‘Hair cut’ for the other side of the drive
Where? One side at a time, and in patches
Why? The long grass eventually falls over, so we cut it with a scythe, taking care to avoid the later-flowering plants like birds foot trefoil.

What? Tie in the ‘Evie Avenue’
Where? Links the (very) old manure heap behind Balebarn with the treehouse.
Why? The trees on the old manure heap will eventually out-compete the nettles – at least that’s the theory. But we have to keep them short because of the overhead wires. So we’re tying some of the willows togther to form a ‘tree tunnel’ avenue. Why Evie? Because she helped us plant them while staying at Balebarn Lodge last autumn.

What? Cut back nettles
Where? Along the path going to Popehouse Moor
Why? Nettles are good for butterflies (small tortoiseshell in particular) but only if they’re in the sun really – so this shaded patch can go, especially as it’s starting to encroach on the path

What? Get the cows back for the summer grazing
Where? Lower Newland Moor (aka the turbine field) and Popehouse Moor
Why? Yay! They’re back! Just in the nick of time to do the summer grazing for us.

What? Trim the ivy
Where? On Otter Cottage and the turbine room
Why? We like ivy! It’s good for insulating the buildings (even the National Trust agree on that now), provides nest sites for the birds and the flowers help the bees in the colder months. But it still needs to be kept in trim or it starts coming in at the windows and even lifting the roof!

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