WHEELDON TREES FARM

The creation of our wildflower meadow

Rewilding a small field to help protect the environment

During our renovations in 2007-8, the area behind our garages had become a sort of dumping ground for rocks, earth and under soil removed when we dug trenches for our ground source heat pump.  In the summers of 2008 and 2009 we were blessed (!) with a bountiful display of thistles, dock leaves and nettles.

We thought we might be able to do better.

Help from the National Park Authority

So, in October 2009, we prepared the field to be reborn as a wildflower meadow.  Having no idea how to go about this, we contacted the National Park Authority who proved extremely helpful.

We collected the wood debris for burning and buried rocks and stones in a couple of convenient depressions in our fields.  Next, we needed topsoil – in particular ‘poor’ or unimproved soil that had not been fertilized with animal or synthetic fertilizer.

Lucky for us, Bill Nadin (the local farmer who rents most or our land for grazing) mentioned that he had a bit of soil – i.e. a couple of hundred tons – which he believed had been removed from the top of what is now Hindlow quarry.  A soil sample analysis by the Park Authority confirmed it was suitable and several dumper loads later we had a pretty impressive looking patch of earth.

The Peak Park kindly supplied us with a bagful of wildflower seed together with instruction on the type and density of grass seed with which it needed to be mixed prior to sowing.  We seeded the field accordingly and waited for spring.

After a very cold winter and very dry spring, it seemed like an eternity before anything happened.  Slowly but surely, the bare earth acquired a green tinge, followed by a grass stubble.  As instructed, we removed docks and thistles that dared to invade although they continue to lurk on the margins.

By July 2010, we had a reasonably realistic grassy knoll and our first wild flowers: Yellow Rattle, Ribwort, Cat’s Ear and White Clover.

A year later, and the meadow was full of ox-eye daisies and an ever increasing variety of species.

In March 2011, we planted ten fruit and nut trees supplied by in the meadow – give us a few years and we’ll be making our own cider!

Ten years on

What does our wildflower meadow look like today? Well, why not come over and see for yourself?

Rewilding Britain is now widely recognised as an important step forward if we are to reverse ecological decline and help tackle climate breakdown.

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Here's the recipe for Easy Seville Marmalade :

1kg Seville Oranges
750g Demerara Sugar
1 kg Jam Sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Wash the oranges well & remove knobbly bits from the ends.
Cut in half and juice the oranges.
Discard the pips and pour juice into a large bowl.
Cut the juiced halves again (remove any pips you may find).
Put the quarters into a food processor & whizz until finely chopped
(You can cut the peel into shreds by hand if you prefer)
Add chopped flesh, peel and pith to the juice in the bowl & pour over 2.5 litres of cold water.
Stir, cover and leave overnight to macerate.
Next day, transfer everything into a large pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat & simmer for 1 1/2 hrs.
(I put a saucer in the freezer now ready for testing setting point later on).
Add sugars & lemon juice and stir over the heat until sugar has dissolved.
Increase the heat to bring to a rolling boil. Try not to stir the marmalade from this point on (I stir from time to time otherwise I find it sticks to the bottom of the pan and burns!).
After 20 mins test to see if it has reached setting point. If it hasn’t, leave for 5 mins then test again.
When setting point has been reached, remove pan from heat, leave to stand for 10 mins then ladle into sterilised jars and seal.

This recipe is from Jam, Jelly & Relish by Ghillie James.
(Italics are my comments!)
... See MoreSee Less

Heres the recipe for Easy Seville Marmalade :

1kg Seville Oranges
750g Demerara Sugar
1 kg Jam Sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Wash the oranges well & remove knobbly bits from the ends.
Cut in half and juice the oranges.
Discard the pips and pour juice into a large bowl.
Cut the juiced halves again (remove any pips you may find).
Put the quarters into a food processor & whizz until finely chopped
(You can cut the peel into shreds by hand if you prefer)
Add chopped flesh, peel and pith to the juice in the bowl & pour over 2.5 litres of cold water.
Stir, cover and leave overnight to macerate.
Next day, transfer everything into a large pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat & simmer for 1 1/2 hrs.
(I put a saucer in the freezer now ready for testing setting point later on).
Add sugars & lemon juice and stir over the heat until sugar has dissolved. 
Increase the heat to bring to a rolling boil. Try not to stir the marmalade from this point on (I stir from time to time otherwise I find it sticks to the bottom of the pan and burns!).
After 20 mins test to see if it has reached setting point. If it hasn’t, leave for 5 mins then test again. 
When setting point has been reached, remove pan from heat, leave to stand for 10 mins then ladle into sterilised jars and seal.

This recipe is from Jam, Jelly & Relish by Ghillie James.
(Italics are my comments!)

Comment on Facebook

Thank you Deborah. This looks much easier than some of the recipes I have been looking at!

I plan to try this recipe, how many jars does it make please Deborah? 👍👍👍

Thank you I have some Jars so will try

Been making these delicious candies orange peel sticks since the first lockdown. Think I’m now addicted 😂! They’re a bit fiddly to make but not difficult and I’ve discovered they’re just as good with half the amount of sugar. 😇 ... See MoreSee Less

Been making these delicious candies orange peel sticks since the first lockdown. Think I’m now addicted 😂! They’re a bit fiddly to make but not difficult and I’ve discovered they’re just as good with half the amount of sugar. 😇

Comment on Facebook

Yummy

Recipe please 🙏😍

Very nice

Yum

We are definitely addicted!!

Yum!

View more comments

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