(See blog entry for 29th August for pictures of flowers on the field this summer.)
The primary school has had a long history of wildlife-friendly projects. Members of staff encourage children to take an interest in wildlife – for example they have helped to make bee and insect houses in the wildlife area along the edge of the school field, next to the old railway line. They have also planted wild flowers and they help to look after the courtyard garden. Getting Kineton Growing has helped to establish class raised beds so children can have practical experience of gardening. Back in about 2001, pupils and parents planted many trees in the corner behind where Helen’s Place, Kineton Playgroup’s building now stands. These trees have grown really well – almost all of them survived and the area is now woodland that is used by the Playgroup’s Forest School.
The plant species growing on the field suggest that in the past it was a hay meadow – it is still possible to see the ‘ridge and furrow’ lines of old agricultural land. 98% of hay meadows have been lost in the UK since the 1930s, so flower-rich fields like this are really precious.
Following a suggestion from Kineton Wildlife group, this year the school has asked the mowers to leave some areas unmown, so the wild plants can flower and seed, and insects will be able to visit for nectar and pollen. These wild flowers have been growing for years on the field, but have been unable to flower because they were mown. It is amazing that there are still about a hundred different plant species growing on the school site! We hope to see lots of flowers and plenty of butterflies! The hay will need to be cut and removed in autumn, to keep nutrient levels low, so that coarse grasses and plants like nettles and thistles don’t take over. We are hoping to use seeds from this hay to establish local wild flowers again in other parts of the village.