Alan Cotton, one of Britain’s most distinctive landscape artists, has…
Would you like to walk in wildflower meadows and see our native orchids as well as other wildflowers?
It all kicks off at the start of June, wildflower meadows are comparatively rare these days, with most fields having either arable crops complete with pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, or the land’s been ‘improved’ for pasture. When you come across a wildflower meadow there’s an abundance of wildlife and wildflowers that makes you wonder why we can’t work with nature instead of against it. Certainly livestock grazing on natural pasture will generally taste better, be healthier and happier.
Unfortunately, many farmers see their land as outdoor factories, wishing to squeeze every last ounce of income from their land with no regard to nature, however there are also many farmers these days that see themselves as custodians of their land and have a great respect for the natural world and make great efforts to work alongside nature to both make a living and also ensure that ‘nature’ is catered for fully.
One such farmer is Julian Pady at Goren Farm at Stockland in East Devon. His farm has been in the family since 1955 and was farmed with a dairy herd up until 1990. But since then, under the stewardship of Julian, the fields have been set to hay meadows to develop a natural balance with nature. No chemicals have been used on the farm, and no fields have been ploughed in Julian’s living memory. What’s fantastic is that a small herd of Ruby Red cattle and border Leicester sheep feed off all the wildflower meadows. I should imagine that the meat produces is superb, but supplies are limited (see their website).
The hedgerows are managed to produce wood and allow a habitat for wildlife as well as providing shelter for the farm animals. The orchards have also been restored and replanted among the veteran trees and cider is made on the farm in the traditional way, which is filtered through straw. When the new trees bear fruit, apple juice will also be produced. Vegetables are also grown and sold locally.
It’s a great story, where the land is respected, chemical farming is shunned, and nature is allowed to get on with what it does best. A farm that’s being used in a totally sustainable way, both for wildlife and for humans. If you want to visit Goren Farm, there are great opportunities coming up in June when the farm opens for visitors to view the wildflowers and orchids in the meadows. You are able to also see many insects, butterflies such as the meadow brown, small blue, marbled white, orange tips, red admiral, etc. In terms of wildflowers, there’s a wide range such as:- yellow rattle, cat’s ear, birdsfoot trefoil, knapweek, corky fruited water dropwort, goats beard and of course, orchids – the list goes on.
There’s also a festival which starts at the end of June , with great music and a host of activities for all the family (see above) – don’t miss it!