Somerset

Bath wildflower meadows project to be expanded

Bath Skyline Image copyright National Trust
Image caption The yellow rattle is growing well along the Bath Skyline

A wildflower project in Bath that was launched by the National Trust is to be expanded across the city.

In 2017, the charity collected yellow rattle seeds from its meadows to plant on other sites in order to boost biodiversity.

More seeds have been collected and will be shared in a new project by Bathscape to create 12 new meadows.

The wildflower project aims to create up to 18 hectares of new wildflower meadows on mostly private land.

Dan Merrett, from Bathscape, said: "We've got a free advisory service working with land owners to go and identify the new sites that are best-placed."

'Steep slopes'

In October, Bathscape secured £2.2m heritage lottery funding to run 25 projects over the next five years to improve the local wildlife habitats, survey archaeological sites and make it more accessible to people.

"There still some very good grasslands around, particularly as we have the steep slopes and the calcareous (calcium-rich) soils which make it less good for agriculture," added Mr Merrett.

The National Trust will also be sowing the yellow rattle seeds collected this year from its Bath Skyline land on a nearby 15-acre grassland site.

National Trust ranger Tabitha Collins said: "We're going to be using a machine which is trailed along and brushes the seeds up which means we can collect a lot more seeds up than we did last year.

"I don't know how much, but it will be at least four times more, then we can spread it into larger areas to fill that 15-acre field more."

She added that as the re-seeding continues, the sites will be monitored to see how biodiversity increases.

Yellow rattle is a semi-parasite which fixes its roots onto adjoining grasses and extracts the nutrients from the grass and soil. This in turn creates the correct conditions for wildflowers to grow.

Image copyright National Trust
Image caption Yellow rattle is a semi-parasite which helps to create the correct soil conditions for other wildflowers

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