Clover Lawns Around The Eco Lodges

#30DaysWild no 30. At Wheatland Farm we’ve been easing off the path mowing just for a week or so, and here’s the result – clover lawns around the eco lodges that the bees are loving.

The clover is in the short grass, on the usually mown paths but also on some of the small ‘lawns’ in front of the eco lodges, like this one at Balebarn Eco Lodge. We’ll have to mow soon of course, as the grass just keeps growing, but we’ll leave it as long as practical, and take heart in the fact that it’s the mowing regime that has favoured the clover in the first place.

As Wheatland Farm’s spring and early summer flowers start to go over, it’s great to see the clover having its time in the sun. Meanwhile, in the longer grass it’s time to start cutting back, otherwise everything will just go to dead grass stalks in a few weeks time just as the school summer holidays bring our main holiday makers to Devon.

So while many farms will be taking a hay crop to store away for the winter, we cut smaller patches and manage in rotation. Some of the patches in the main eco lodge field we will carry on mowing right until the end of September. Others will have a cut now and then grow long again. Overall, it’s clear that managing the lodge field for biodiversity and amenity combined can be a very successful strategy. This field is far more diverse than our Lower Newland Moor field (where the Wheatland Farm turbine is), which has been managed under the government’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme since 2011.

Previously on #30DaysWild

This time last year: We were talking about the links between climate change and human disasters like the covid pandemic, lobbying our MP, but also admiring our humble weeds.

This time in 2019: We’d grabbed some good weather and gone wild camping on Dartmoor for a tiny overnight holiday. We went to the fabulous Black Tor Copse. This year some of Dartmoor’s iconic and fragile woods are suffering a bit from over use because of all the staycations and extra pressures. At Wistman’s wood for example, you’re being asked not to go in. So if you do visit Black Tor Copse do take care not to damage the mosses on the stones, and leave everything as you found it.

This time in 2018: We were relaxing with sun downers in the Wheatland Farm turbine field. There’s not much relaxing going on this year – we’re rushed off our feet. But the down time will come later, when Devon empties out for the colder months.

This time in 2017: It was grey – but good weather for biking the Devon lanes, which are fabulous at this time of year, with foxgloves taking over from the spring orchids, and betony coming out.