Funded project report:
The project is the creation of a wildflower meadow to increase biodiversity in the Bure Park Local Nature Reserve. We planted nectar rich plants which are attractive to bumblebees, hoverflies, moths and butterflies, as well as snowdrop bulbs around the edge of the meadow. We have engaged with the local community – in particular Bure Park Primary School to promote better understanding of the nature reserve and biodiversity in the local area. We have commissioned BBOWT to advise us and train Bicester Green Gym volunteers to monitor the progress and success of the meadow and help us evaluate the success of the overall project.
Summary of Activity:
The final element of the wildflower meadow project was to bring in advice and training from BBOWT for members of Bicester Green Gym. The training was extended to Bicester Community Orchard and Friends of Island Pond Wood in nearby Launton (FIP) - related local groups in the Bicester area.
Colin Williams from BBOWT duly made a site visit the meadow on 21st June, to gather initial data on the progress of the meadow, tracking species against the seed mix list provided by Boston Seeds.
Colin then returned to Bure Park on 3rd July to advise the volunteers to monitor the species in the meadow and the butterflies and bees that were in evidence.
He also advised on management of the meadow moving forward
He discussed future monitoring of the site in future and agreed to give further advice and help in 2019 when the volunteers will start an annual monitoring of the meadow using the baseline data from the site visit this year.
Colin has sent the Green Gym the following documents to guide them moving forward:
Management advice document
Seed mixture flower photographic guide
Non-seed mixture flower photographic guide
Species list from his visit on 21/06/2018
What has been accomplished?
Colin identified 47 species of plant including many flowers which are important sources of nectar including Viper’s Bugloss, Common Knapweed and Bird’s-foot Trefoil. There are also several 'good grasses' which would not have been in the meadow if not for the seeding that was done last year. During the plant survey a number of butterflies were observed visiting the flowers for nectar including Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White and Meadow Brown, as well as bees and butterflies
Colin observed that it was extremely encouraging to find this diversity after one year since the planting of the meadow, and a success for pollinators for butterflies. He also reiterated that establishing a wildflower meadow is an ongoing project that can take many years and this is just the beginning of the meadow in Bure Park.
The Green Gym and staff members of Cherwell District will carry out the Big Butterfly Count in August to further track the butterflies that the meadow is attracting.
The main task in the immediate future is to tackle the docks, which are currently the main weed problem. Bicester Green Gym will be cutting the seed heads on 10/7/18 and taking them off site. Colin has advised that they use the “lazy dog tool” later in the year to root them out.
Please describe if and how volunteers are involved with the project;
The advice from Colin Williams from BBOWT has been an important element of the project, involving, advising and enabling Bicester Green Gym to continue to care for the wildflower meadow in conjunction with maintenance from Cherwell District Council’s contractor.
We would be grateful if you would provide some feedback on TOE2’s grant giving process:
I have found Toe2’s grant giving process to be very straight forward and I have appreciated the personal approach. It was extremely helpful to have the initial advice visit from Chris Parker to enable us to plan the project and monitor it. I have also appreciated the chance to contact Toe2 with queries about monitoring and extending the project and receiving prompt replies.