Nothing more attractive than wildflowers in bloom

I read with interest your article highlighting the apparent “neglected” state of the part of the old cemetery which happens to contain those graves of veterans from the two world wars.

We were just about to go to Slaidburn to undertake two days’ training into managing hay meadows and wildflower areas using the lightweight Austrian scythe, an event organised by Sarah Robinson from The Forest of Bowland AONB.

I have been working with Sarah on projects involving wildflowers in hay meadows as well as public and private gardened areas since 2012, both here in Bowland and in the Yorkshire Dales with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. She is very dedicated in trying to correct the imbalance that now exists with only two per cent of the original wildflower rich hay meadows left that were in existence in the 1950s, primarily due to modern farming practices and the harvesting of silage rather than traditional hay.

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Wildflowers are the lifeblood of our existence with many pollinating insects relying on these plants for their survival and only very recently Alan Titchmarsh launched an initiative at Chelsea Flower Show to encourage local authorities to resist hard mowing and/or strimming of roadside verges except where necessary for safety reasons.

Obviously the same applies in areas such as that in Clitheroe Cemetery, where I applaud the initiative of Ribble Valley Borough Council in taking this decision four years ago to reduce mowing to once a year, once flowering and seeding has taken place.

We have done the same here at Waddow Lodge back in 2009 and an area that was once mown regularly is now starting to boast wild orchids as in the cemetery as well as meadow cranesbill. In fact the man who took the two-day course in the Coronation Meadows at Bell Sykes Farm, Slaidburn, Stephen Tomlin, has asked me to assist him in hosting a one-day course next year in demonstrating to interested people how they can convert an area in their garden, field, meadow or orchard into an area for sustainable wildflowers, mown once a year to produce hay.

Simon Entwistle states the war graves section is part of our heritage and I am sure these soldiers who gave their lives for their country would be justly proud their final resting place is contributing towards the safeguarding of the future of Britain’s heritage in wildflowers and insects.

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Well done Ribble Valley Borough Council and please may you encourage Lancashire County Council to reduce roadside mowing as well as various householders who mow council-owned verges outside their country properties as though they were in a town environment. There is nothing more pleasing than the sight of wildflowers in bloom as can be seen at St James Church, Stock-in-Bowland, or St Oswald’s Church, Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

Peter Foley,

Clitheroe Road, Waddington

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