Every field has a story to tell and Lark Meadow is no exception.
Last autumn, an exciting brew of species rich grassland seeds mixed with cornfield annuals had been sown on most of the hectare of land leased from Fenswood Farm by the LANCE Trust. So, we waited with bated breath to see what spring 2022 would bring.
It turned out to be a cold dry spring that isn’t great for germination. But we soon noticed shoots of green shimmering across the field. The plants grew faster and faster until the field became a mass of lemon yellow flowers. Was it oil seed rape, we wondered? Turns out it’s a plant we’d not come across before; a wild mustard called charlock. Once common in arable fields, the seeds are vulnerable to herbicide but lie dormant in soil for years waiting for an opportunity to germinate:
However, charlock is much loved by small white, green veined white and orange tip butterflies that lay eggs on the buds in readiness for emerging caterpillars whilst, later on, many birds love its seeds.
We soon noticed another plant that was sprouting enthusiastically from our seed mix. It was corncockle. Corncockle is a truly beautiful plant with slender, elegant stems. Sadly, it is now virtually extinct in the wild. But on 22nd May, we noticed the first flower and pretty soon there will be a haze of bright mauve flowers providing an exceptionally unusual show.
We’ve also seen the first scarlet glow of a field poppy and some bright yellow flowers of yellow rattle. Who knows what will flower next?
So do keep an eye out and visit the meadow using the footpath running alongside the A370. You can find the meadow using What 3 Words: fans.stand.hero. In addition, there's a great view of the (currently) yellow meadow from the War Memorial:
Many thanks to Fenswood Farm for their collaboration with this project and the Quartet Community Foundation for their funding.