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Wildflower glades

The many glades at Moor Barton Wilding were created when the larch plantation was felled and replaced by thousands of native trees a decade ago. These glades are becoming ever more important as the young trees grow bigger and shade out the light from the ground across the site. 

​Glades (and rides) are an important feature within a woodland setting as they offer a contrasting habitat to the higher canopy and - in this time of forestry monoculture - woodland glades are becoming a rare habitat. In a glade, the sun can penetrate the woodland floor and a diverse range of plants and invertebrates can thrive. In Spring and Summer the glades become alive with the hum of pollinators and colour of flowers and butterflies. 

The UK has lost 97% of its hay meadows in the last 100 years and so creating and maintaining glades is important. Habitat that is rich in plant and insect life will always support and provide a food source for many other species. Growing insects is, in fact, growing life. We have glades that are used by spotted fly catchers and others used by tree pipits or snipe at night, each species drawn to a particular glade for a particular reason.

In order to maintain the glades at Moor Barton Wilding we need to manage and control vigorous dominant species, particularly the bracken that can grow to 6 foot by the middle of August. This giant swamps out all of the beneficial vegetation and is mildly toxic above and below ground. To roll (or top) the bracken more effectively and efficiently, we are taking out the stumps left in the glades from the old larch plantation that was felled a decade ago.

In addition, over the past few years, we have spread over 18 tons of green hay throughout the glades, to spread wildflower seeds at Moor Barton Wilding. This hay included 2kgs of yellow rattle seed which attacks roots of the coarse grass. Knocking back the grass gives space for a richer diversity of flowers to grow. The yellow rattle flowered for the first time last summer, a key element in the start of the transformation of our glades.

Click here to find out about closed canopy woodland

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