The Village Green supports an outstanding area of flower-rich grassland. Such grasslands were once common across lowland England, but an estimated 97% have been lost over the last 60 years. Worcestershire is till one of the very best counties for hay grass as much of the land was traditionally held in small holdings, thus when farmers improved (treated) the land only small pockets of natural grasslands were lost.
The soils on The Green are neutral, but since they arise from washings off the volcanic rocks on the Malvern Hills they are at the more acid end of the range.
Typical plants of old grassland present include:
black knapweed (slightly hairy edge ti the leaf)
bird’s foot trefoil (sometimes called hen & chicken or bacon & eggs and a good food source for the ‘common blue butterfly)
yellow or hay rattle
bulbous meadow buttercup
dyer’s greenweed (member of the pea family and related to gorse)
roughor hairy hawkbit autumn hawkbit
red clover (attracts more bees than white clover)
ladies’ bedstraw (in past times, this grass was used to stuff ladies bed-pillows)
sweet vernal grass (the stem tastes slightly of coconut and it is this plant which gives the hay a sweet smell and taste
crested dogs tail
The more acid conditions are reflected in the abundance of tormentil ( a member of the rose family), with both heath grass and heath speedwell also present.
The Green is also quite damp, with a high density of sedges (spring, common and possibly oval).Other species of damper ground include sneezewort, marsh bedstraw and occasional marsh thistles.
There is a good and increasing population of green-winged orchids, and common spotted
orchids have also been found (Perversely in 2008 twere are a good number of the former and maybe only 5 of the later!)
The early flowers/grass (late May/early June) usually have yellow hues whereas the later flowers are mainly of pink hues.
There are very few common daisies, this ground is simply too good for them!
The best management for this sort of grassland is to cut for hay in mid July. Usually this would be followed by sheep or cattle grazing, but that is not practical on
The Parish Council wishes to thank Peter Holmes for all of the advice, support and guided talks that he has given in relation to this area.