On Thursday 29th September, the annual cut of the popular wildflower area in Carlingwark park took place thanks to a visit by National Trust for Scotland’s volunteer team. Their specialist flail mower ensures the year’s growth can be cut and removed from site effectively, managing nutrients to maximise biodiversity and species mix on the site.
A mixture of native tree species including Alder, Cherry, Birch and Rowan were planted around the site earlier in the year, funded by a grant through the South of Scotland Tree Planting Grant Scheme. The tree planting project was led by Castle Douglas Community Council, with support from volunteers in the local community.
The National Trust of Scotland team’s visit to the site was one the first tasks for their new Engagement Ranger, Mary Smith. Mary said:
“Visiting the meadow prior to mowing we were really excited to see pollinator activity on knapweed and birds foot trefoil, even this late in the year. It was a great morning’s work from our volunteer team, as we cut and raked the meadow to help it to produce more wildflowers next year – these will help increase biodiversity not just in the meadow but as part of the jigsaw in increasing biodiversity across the Castle Douglas area.”
Local resident Jools Cox has been supporting the development of the wildflower area and was present when the annual cut was taking place. Jools said:
“This area of wildflower meadow, together with the ’Memories Garden’ orchard/ meadow at the other end of the park, has contributed hugely to the increase in moths, butterflies, pollinating insects and birds spotted this summer. There was a noticeable increase in swifts and swallows over the park. The pockets of wildflowers and seeding grasses in the park, and increasingly in domestic gardens in the town, are essential to sustain the local biodiversity that is severely under threat from intensive farming methods and climate change”.
Dumfries & Galloway Councillor Iain Howie has supported the project throughout and took part in the tree planting. Councillor Howie said:
“This project is an excellent example of collaborative working between the NTS, Dumfries & Galloway Council and the Community Council which has converted a barren unproductive area and turned it into a wildlife haven. This is exactly the type of project which the council supports and perhaps the most positive aspect has been the active participation of volunteers for the NTS and community council alike.“