WMI Events Summary 2011

Heathfield Show – Sat 28th May 2011:

Heathfield_Show_WebWith kind permission of Complete Land Management the HWLT-WMI represented by Dawn Brickwood and supported by Trustee John Shaw, proudly displayed website launch balloons, small wildflower seed packets and meadows /High Weald literature. Rather a dull, chilly but dry day, we spoke to around 20+ landowners in relation to Weald Native Origin Wildflower & Grass Seed and grassland management.


Beech Estate Walk (and lunch at Old Brick Estate) on Tues 31st May:


Lead by Trustee and Beech Estates Manager – Keith Datchler, this event for 8 meadow owners/ supporters included a guest appearance by Officer Dawn Brickwood at Ashburnham Forge SNCI meadows at Bunces Farm.  Following the event, a WMI site visit was carried out to provide one landowner owner with advice for their existing meadows and enhancement areas.


RBG Kew Wakehurst Staff Day – Weds 1st June:

 Kew_Staff_Day_SmallEvery year Kew-Wakehurst organise a day out for team building and visit to places relevant to the Royal Botanic Gardens business. Kew at Wakehurst first choice was to visit the Beech Estate & HWLT-WMI to see Ashburnham Forge SNCI meadows and learn more about the inspirational and experimental work that the Estate and WMI are carrying out. 26 Kew staff from the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership and volunteers received a morning tour, followed by lunch at Bunces Barn and an afternoon visit to Agrifactors to view the harvesting machinery and facilities for processing and storage of Weald Native Origin Seed

Meadows ~ Enhance or Restore?   Fri 3rd June:


12 attendees discovering the hidden Ashburnham Forge SNCI meadows, their history and techniques for managing, restoring and creating new bio-diverse meadows at both a small and landscape scale. Lead by Dawn Brickwood – Weald Meadows Initiative & Keith Datchler, Beech Estate/High Weald Landscape Trust.

Good feedback from all participants and follow up WMI meadow visits to two landowners in late June as a result of the event.

Brighton & Hove’s Springwatch Festival 2011 at Stanmer Park on Sat June 5th in partnership with the Sussex Wildlife Trust (SWT) and support from the HWLT- WMI and Mike Mullis.

Due to the location of the SWT event the idea was to showcase and provide information on the different species native to both Downland and the High Weald AONB, with their varying pH and soil types. Two planters were planted with appropriate plant plugs of indicative wildflower and grassland species. These planters were combined with WMI literature for Weald Native Origin Seed (suitable for neutral/acidic soils). To fit with the recommended sowing period WMI contact details were supplied to gardeners/landowners for autumn sowing.

Liaison commenced in March to deliver the WMI support with additional visits and co-ordination with Mike Mullis – Weald and Downland Plant Plugs and planter preparation for the event. A poor weather day, turnout was limited with the SWT and Mike talking to around 50 landowners and 3 WMI wildflower seed packets sold but 20 + sets of WMI and AONB literature distributed

Verges Site Meeting Thus 9th June 

Hosted by the Beech Estate and High Weald Landscape Trust Chairman – Simon Phipps, Keith Datchler and Dawn Brickwood: Verge_Eg_Small

Context:  The Vice Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex and the Chairman of East Sussex County Council asked the High Weald Landscape Trust to organise a meeting at one of the best wildflower meadow sites in the High Weald to share best practice between City Council and County Council personnel, with associated advice from the Weald Meadows Consultant and representatives from Kew’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Wakehurst.

Attended by 3 members of Brighton and Hove Council and 2 from Balfour Beatty Mott McDonald (Highways). Outcome: Highways and Brighton & Hove CC are now in touch and enjoyed the Beech Estate and HWLT- WMI experiences, to translate practical solutions for roadside verges. A Highways biodiversity bid is now in place for further funding work at the A21 at Pillory Corner and they are working with the WMI to investigate green material from verges as a source of fodder/ and or seed.



Beech Estate Thus 16th June:

The aim: to visit the Meadows Project.  This is an opportunity to bring together a like minded group that otherwise might not meet to exchange ideas and information for mutual benefit.BeechDay_16June11_small

The event was attended by a number of key supporters and partners. Attendees include Professor Francis Ratnieks ( Nineveh Charitable Trust funded project) Sally Marsh (Co-director of HW AONB) Dr. Nikki Gammans of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and John Parry of the Linklater Pavilion/ Environmentalist, and Stephanie Unna, Senior Curator of Coleoptera National History Museum. Outcome: contact set to continue and increase with all partners involved.

Rother Guardians Wed 22nd June:


Presentation (scaled back by poor weather) given to members of Butterfly Conservation Volunteer group, The Rother Guardians  on the value of meadows in their own right, the importance of the meadow edge and surrounding habitats for butterflies. The talk  was attended by 6 BC members.

Feedback from Jim – thank you once again for preparing and delivering this excellent presentation. As I hoped it would, it has  enabled us to cross the bridge from woodland  to meadows butterfly recording and has given us a really good basis for future  meadow and grassland recording – both for invertebrates and plants.

UK Seed Hub Filming Mon 27th June:


RBG Kew-Wakehurst UK Seed Hub – filming at the Beech Estate with, Michael Way, Keith Datchler OBE and Dawn Brickwood.  Footage and interviews in preparation for national and regional news press coverage for the formal launch of the UK Seed Hub on the 17th August 2011.  Please see Kew’s website for the UK Seed Hub official press release and images.



The Grassland Trust – Trustee and Conservation Committee Event Sat 2nd July:


With the superb surroundings and lunch for Trustees and Conservation Committee members – the scene was set for discussions focused around meadow restoration at a landscape scale, the launch of the Grassland Trusts Report – Natures Tapestry (where the WMI is featured) and event plans for 2012.

For The Grassland Trusts Natures Tapestry full report – please download here


Flora Locale, Kew and WMI Seed collecting & use for restoration and re-introduction Day Wed 6th July – The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Wakehurst Place, West Sussex:


The first event run by Kew on this subject – supported by the WMI. The course was focussed around the science and practice of collecting, preservation and use of high quality seed samples. Using the semi-natural habitats at Wakehurst Place, seed was harvested and quality-assessed by participants in the Millennium Seed Bank laboratories.   Grassland enhancement techniques and initial results were discussed and visited in Bloomers Valley with assistance from Weald Meadows Initiative.

Attended by 6 consultants and officers from around the country

Feedback – Positive comments from all participants who enjoyed the mix of theory, demonstration and practical’s which helped them learn throughout the day.

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