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Four-legged mowers are back on the Green

 

The Green’s four-legged helpers are back. Without the mowing that the cattle do the Green’s biggest meadows would slowly become covered in rough grass and strong common weeds, then scrub, then trees, and the whole of the Green would be nothing but woodland. All of us love the wildflowers and so do the small mammals who live in the secret world at their roots, and the owls love the small mammals … and so the cycle goes on, making sure there are different sorts of habitat for the widest possible range of creatures and plants. The human volunteers could not possibly mow and stack all the hay that would need to be cut from Blyth Meadow and Lester’s Piece, and so the grazing of the cows is crucial for the health of the Green. Welcome back!  The cows might be a little curious at first but they will get used to walkers and dogs very quickly, do be aware of them and make sure your dog is under very close control.

 

To welcome the the cows we have to make sure the fencing all around the grazing meadows is in good condition and this year we had the help of Simon King who has done a really efficient job of replacing large numbers of the aging posts and rails. The volunteers also did our bit in Blyth Meadow by hacking through the old cement to replace the woodwork around the cattle grid and gate which lead into Blyth Meadow, just under the railway bridge.

 

Elsewhere it’s blossom time.  If you get a chance, go and admire the fruit trees in the Community Orchard (go to the first cattle grid, turn left over White Bridge and left again into Folly Meadow – where the willow wherry is – and follow the path up).  Most of the apples and pears are now 14 years old and have grown more than we ever expected. We started with varieties traditional to Suffolk and Norfolk and wanted trees that would flower and fruit at slightly different times. We chose types which would be in flower at the right times to pollinate each other. So, now – as long as the honeybees, bumblebees, flies, beetles and wasps do their part – the orchard ought to produce some fruit this autumn. Quite soon after the petals fall it’s possible to see the little swelling apples, pears, plums or cherries.

 

If you don’t feel able or willing to get down onto the land itself to help with the physical work, there are lots of less visible jobs to be done. Every small job one person does means that a box is ticked. Meanwhile, weather permitting we’ll continue to meet down on the Green every Wednesday morning at 9.30 at the containers (industrial estate entrance, near the rail and river bridges at Three Ways).  The website ‘Halesworth Millennium Green’ (millenniumgreen.halesworth.net) carries news of past and future events, photos, wildlife records, history and geology. Contact the Green directly on thegreen@halesworth.net