Wildflowers, Trees and Shrubs

When Old Down was first established there were very few flowers growing there naturally. Barley or oil seed rape had been grown for many years. The original planting when the land was handed over by the developers was just grass and trees.

Over the years the wildlife group has tried to increase the biodiversity by sowing wildflower seed, planting out small plants and managing the cutting of the grass. As a result Old Down is becoming more beautiful each year. Each flower has its season so there is a progression throughout the growing year but there is still much more to be done.

The fences have now been removed from the trial areas. The wildflower sowing has been very successful. We have only used locally sourced seed or other native seed. We are constructing hurdles using sycamore and hazel thinnings to try to encourage people to walk around the most flower rich areas and provide some shelter from wind for insects in the spring when they are at their most vulnerable. We are creating glades in some of the wooded areas for the same reason.

The rides are being managed for wildflowers and invertebrates and the meadow is being cut in such a way as to provide a mosaic of long and short grass over the winter for the benefit of butterflies which overwinter as larvae there.

We are taking part in the Good Woods Project and are getting advice from them about managing the old and new woods in a sustainable way.

Early flowers on Old Down are tree catkins such as hazel followed by pussy willow shown here.

Hoary plantain appears in May

Bird's foot trefoil and white clover . Both attract bees and butterflies.

The coltsfoot were in flower in March and seem to be provide sustenance to small beetles.

The trial areas full of kidney vetch, ox eye daisies and salad burnet amongst other things.

Hogweed seems very attractive to insects. Can anyone identify this beetle?

By April some of the primroses were in flower showing spring had truly arrived.

Kidney vetch flowers throughout May and June.

Vipers Bugloss makes a wonderful show during June.

For more pictures of flowers on Old Down click here, or download our leaflet below.

The following pictures are similar to those in downloadable presentations under Grasslands.

Wildflowers around Basingstoke click here

Wildflowers in old meadows at Kingcombe in Dorset click here

Wildflowers in old meadows at Melverley in Shropshire click here