When, in 2005, land to the immediate south of Keyworth's Wysall Lane Burial Ground, became available, Keyworth Parish Council had the foresight to acquire 2.6 acres (10,500m²) of it for a future extension of the cemetery. In the meantime though, options were put forward as to how the land might be put to good use and the idea of a wildflower meadow won the day.
Working on advice from the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Naturescape, a local farming contractor sprayed off the thistles and grasses and, in autumn 2011, sowed the field with around 50kg of seed provided by the Wildlife Trust from their Ashton's Meadow reserve. This was supplemented by hand sown wildflower seed mixes supplied by Naturescape.
The cultivation of the field unfortunately reduced the amplitude of the ancient ridge and furrow somewhat. However it is still there, and indeed, aerial photographs show the strips extending southwards along Lings Lane almost to Keyworth Meadow - where the land was common to all; often for their full furlong length.
After a marvellously warm and sunny March and April, 2012 turned into the wettest summer for fifty years and the meadow responded by growing tall and rank. Red Campions were one of the few flowers to show their stuff before grasses and sow thistles more than a metre tall swamped everything. Nevertheless, the field was cut in early August and the hay was baled and removed.
The wet summer was followed by a very cold and prolonged winter resulting in a delayed spring with little growth. So little, that a local farmer asked to graze a flock of sheep on the meadow for a couple of weeks in April. If this would knock back the grasses, then it could be beneficial to the herbs and the flock dutifully did just that. When some sunshine and warmth eventually appeared in late April, the flock was turned out.
At the guided walk/open day on May 19th, there was just Red Campion in flower, but the variety of herb foliage and the sparsity of the grasses looked promising - twelve months earlier, the field had been waist high.June 12th 2013: