The Town and Manor of Hungerford is sowing wild flowers to encourage biodiversity on Hungerford Common.
During October, 14 acres of the Common will be cultivated and seeded to re-introduce a host of traditional wild flowers including harebell, knapweed, field scabious and cowslip.
This will be a great news for pollinators especially birds, bees and butterflies, which have suffered from the drastic reduction lately, as well as for the cattle, which will enjoy a more varied diet as result. It will also be a real treat for visitors to the Common who don’t get to see these lovely flowers here very often.
The wild-flower project is being carried out by the owners of the Common, The Trustees of the Town and Manor of Hungerford, with advice from their consultant ecologist. It is also supported by the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and by Natural England. Access to the Common for everyone including people, dogs and grazing cattle will be unaffected by this scheme.
Ellie Dickins, Constable of Hungerford said, “This is an exciting project that will make the Common an even better place to visit, as well as benefitting wildlife. We work hard to keep the land we own in the best possible condition and I’ll be thrilled to see the results of the cultivation.”
The cultivated areas will green up by the spring and as the majority of the wild flowers are perennial these will take up to two years to produce flowering plants. There is no need to keep off the land during this time as walking on the soil will help to tread in the seeds.
About Hungerford Common
Hungerford Common, or Common Port Down to give one of its many other names, is 220 acres (89 hectares) of ancient common land, permanent pasture, mature trees, canal and strip lynchets, to the east of Hungerford.
Common Rights have been preserved here for more than six centuries, protecting the land from development since at least the reign of Edward III (1327-77).
Today Hungerford Common is used by both Commoners and Farmers, who buy rights from the Town & Manor to graze cattle, and by all local residents for recreation, relaxation and local events.
Main photo by Tony Bartlett