In a rural canal-side setting adjacent to John’s Garden, surrounded by undulating farmland and pockets of woodland, the Wildlife Meadow is ideally situated to attract a wide variety of creatures for our visitors to enjoy.
Under the guidance of Ashwood’s conservationist Tom Woodhall, we are developing and maintaining the meadow using the same ecological principles used to manage nature reserves across the country.
The aim is to provide a variety of habitats in order to attract a range of species and achieve a high level of biodiversity while creating an environment that is also attractive and pleasing to the eye.
Mature native trees such as oak, birch, alder and wild cherry, as well as an area of coppiced hazel, are characteristic of woodland habitat and provide for visiting woodland creatures. Hedgerows of hawthorn and blackthorn with flowers and berries for foraging are perfect habitat for birds and insects.
The canal-side setting brings aquatic creatures such as dragonflies and damselflies as well as the stunning sight of kingfishers which can be seen fishing from a perch that we have installed.
The largest habitat is provided by the grassland itself. An estimated 97% of British wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930’s. The remaining habitat is vitally important to many of our favourite British species and countless more that are less well known.
We have added numerous native wildflowers to the meadow to provide nectar for butterflies, bees, moths and other pollinating insects. 21 species of butterfly and over 270 species of moth have been found so far and careful management should encourage more species in the future.
The Wildlife Meadow is adjacent to John’s Garden at Ashwood Nurseries; it is open to visitors on John’s Garden Open Days. The entrance charge to the garden includes admission to the meadow (weather and ground condition permitting).
The meadow offers a fascinating experience of nature for both families and wildlife enthusiasts. Visitors can stroll through the meadow along waymarked paths and there will be something new to discover on every visit.
There are viewing screens and a bird hide for viewing the bird feeding area; kingfishers, woodpeckers, bullfinch and nuthatch are regularly seen as well as seasonal migrants such as siskin, swifts and swallows.
Regular collaborations with conservation charities and wildlife groups allow us to hold special events on the nursery such as bird ringing and moth mornings as well as our annual Go Wild in the Garden event. As the Wildlife Meadow develops we hope to offer more events in the future and offer an invitation to schools to use the meadow as an outdoor classroom.