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:
What a contrast! In my wildest dreams I never imagined the improvement could be so dramatic. The vista was dominated by the yellow of Meadow Buttercups, peppered with white heads of Ox-eye Daisy and there, fluttering amongst the blossoms was a blue butterfly - a Common Blue; one of the species intended to benefit from the meadow's creation - with the assistance of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and their "Blue Butterfly Scheme".
Also in flower were Ribwort Plantain, Pignut, Red Clover, Yellow Rattle, Common Sorrel, Common Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Tare, Black Medick, Common Mouse-ear, Lesser Trefoil, Common Vetch and Ragged Robin. The finely cut leaves of Yarrow were everywhere but the blossoms were still dormant. The first flush of grasses - Meadow Foxtail, Annual Meadow Grass and Yorkshire Fog was just appearing.
On the following day, several Small Coppers which will lay their eggs on the Sorrel, were dodging the showers.
It is estimated that the the current phase of burial ground space will be used up by about 2022 but it will be many years before the field is fully utilised and in the meantime, the newly established meadow will delight butterflies and visitors alike - perhaps in future, the wildflowers will be allowed to clothe the graves instead of the manicured lawns that do so now.
The meadow is just west of the cemetery on Wysall Lane next to the car-park on the bend. The National Grid Reference is SK610304. Click HERE for a link to Streetmap.
The plant list below was compiled in 2015/16 by Neil Pinder and is almost certainly incomplete so if you spot anything missing please let me know.
|Family||Common Name||Scientific Name|
|Wild Carrot||Daucus carota|
|Ox-eye Daisy||Leucanthemum vulgare|
|Scented Mayweed||Matricaria recutita|
|Common Knapweed||Centaurea nigra|
|Creeping Thistle||Cirsium arvense|
|Rough Sowthistle||Sonchus asper|
|Hawkweed spp||Hieracium spp|
|Brassicaceae||Hedge Mustard||Sisymbrium officinale|
|Shepherd's Purse||Capsella bursa-pastoris|
|Caryophyllaceae||Common Mouse-ear||Cerastium fontanum|
|Red Campion||Silene dioica|
|White Campion||Silene latifolia|
|Fabaceae||Meadow Vetchling||Lathyrus pratensis|
|Bird's-foot Trefoil||Lotus corniculatus|
|Hop Trefoil||Trifolium campestre|
|Red Clover||Trifolium pratense|
|White Clover||Trifolium repens|
|Tufted Vetch||Vicia cracca|
|Smooth Tare||Vicia tetrasperma|
|Common Vetch||Vicia sativa|
|Family||Common Name||Scientific Name|
|Geraniaceae||Cut-leaved Cranesbill||Geranium dissectum|
|Hedge Woundwort||Stachys sylvatica|
|Plantaginaceae||Ribwort Plantain||Plantago lanceolata|
|Broad-leaved Dock||Rumex obtusifolius|
|Common Sorrel||Rumex acetosa|
|Curled Dock||Rumex crispus|
|Ranunculaceae||Meadow Buttercup||Ranunculus acris|
|Rosaceae||Dog Rose||Rosa canina|
|Marsh Bedstraw||Galium palustre|
|Common Field-speedwell||Veronica persica|
|Urticaceae||Common Nettle||Urtica dioica|
|Graminae||Common Bent||Agrostis capillaris|
|Creeping Bent||Agrostis stolonifera|
|False Oat-grass||Arrentherum elatius|
|Soft Brome||Bromus hordaceus|
|Crested Dogstail||Cynosurus cristatus|
|Tufted hair-grass||Deschampsia cespitosa|
|Yorkshire Fog||Holcus lanatus|
|Perennial Ryegrass||Lolium perenne|
|Smaller Cat's-tail||Phleum bertolonii|
|Meadow Foxtail||Alopecurus pratensis|
|Tall Fescue||Schedonorus arundinaceus|