Grassland restoration at Wakehurst

Experiments are in progress at Bloomers Valley at Wakehurst to determine the best methods for restoring semi-natural grassland of lowland meadows.

03 Mar 2011

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Traditional chain harrowing in Bloomers Valley using working horses from the Working Horse Trust

Traditional chain harrowing in Bloomers Valley using working horses from the Working Horse Trust (Image: Graham Owen)

It is estimated that semi-natural grassland in lowland England and Wales has declined by 97% over the past 50 years. Re-creation of lowland meadow on appropriate sites to restore losses has been established as a priority UK Habitat Action Plan target.

Following a generous grant from the John Ellerman Foundation in June 2009, work has started on the restoration of Bloomers Valley at Wakehurst Place. This work form the core of Kew’s UK engagement activities in the field of grassland restoration ecology.

Experimental plots have been established to monitor the performance of direct sown seed compared with seedlings raised in the nursery and planted out as plugs. The methodology is being assessed so that evidence-based advice can be shared with Millennium Seed Bank partners to help them implement grassland restoration and carry out similar research on their own native species

Bloomers Valley is now managed in a traditional way under the framework of Environmental Stewardship, the government’s principal scheme for delivering widespread environmental benefits.

Item from Iain Parkinson (Unit Manager, Conservation & Woodlands, Wakehurst Place)
Originally published in Kew Scientist, issue 38

Weald Landscape Trust-Weald Meadows Initiative is a partner in this project.

Scientific Research and Data   

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