Blue Flower

Grant: On 18/8/21 we were awarded a Greening Our Communities grant by Norfolk Community Foundation to create a wildflower meadow with mown paths, insect hotels and picnic bench. A wooden shed replaces the shipping container for better views. We put up project notices so visitors can see what we are doing.

Earthworks: The area was a wasteland full of soil heaps, tall weeds and nettles. Earthworks were carried out with the digger, there was lots of rubble in the soil so it was sifted using a riddling bucket, then spread out over the area. We waited for weeds to come through and pulled them up, then rolled and harrowed the soil. 

Finds: The area was metal detected, we found a large hinge post, belt buckle, paddle, metal centre of a grindstone, also slate ridge caps, glass bottle top and bones. Ryan’s detecting demonstrations at the open days helped visitors find fabricated sheet metal. Finds are displayed on illuminated shelves in the visitor centre.

Preservation: The channel beside the meadow was dug out exposing tunnels. The boiling house corner bracket has a wooden surround and cover displaying it with explanation sign. The adjacent brick floor was protected with soil, a Perspex panel shows a section of it. Pictures of the exposed floor are displayed in the visitor centre. One of the grindstones was put in the wildflower meadow to keep it safe while we repair the fallen river wall.

Seeds: We bought 5kg of Native wild flower & grass seed for the meadow and 1kg of Cornfield annuals for the covered brick floor and for re-seeding. We added purple Poppy seeds which we saved and seeds donated by volunteers. Silver sand was mixed with seeds to show coverage, then sown using our towed spreader

Shed: The shipping container used for restoration work was removed as we replaced it with a shed attached to our Visitor Centre which is based on the original mill building, the shed is based on the slate roofed building on the right. The attached shed has reduced the structures on site from 3 to 2. The basesides and roof contain a lot of re-used materials. The shed is for storing garden tools, it gives a much better view than the container.

Displays: Items from the old store room in the visitor centre were moved to the shed, leaving the room free to show items found when making the meadow on new illuminated shelves and a small multimedia screen for slideshows of the work and the meadow in flower. Pictures of us creating the meadow are on the wall. 

Insect Hotels: We bought five insect hotels and made stands for them using an old trellis, taken apart with our pallet breaker, ground stakes keep them upright. Insects sealed off many cells with their larvae inside.

Picnic Bench: Our picnic bench was assembled on site and put in the meadow. The planks distorted, so I got a free replacement table top. We repaired the old table top and fitted legs to make another outside table.

Mower: We considered an electric mower, but they were twice the price, only ran for an hour, with no way of charging it on site. So we bought a 98cm side discharge petrol ride on mower, this is better than a collecting mower which would clog up with long grass, as we need to cut tall meadow growth, leave cuttings for seeds to fall and mow lots of long grass at the mill. The mower is kept securely off site and taken to the mill when needed.

Towed Accessories: The tipping trailer, roller and spreader were assembled on site. We towed the second hand sweeper to the mill for minor repairs, it was used to clear cuttings after seeds had fallen to lower soil fertility. We made a harrow from materials on site. The trailer was used to clear weeds, the harrow and roller prepared soil for seeding, the spreader was used to sow seeds. Towed accessories are kept off site until needed.

Purchases: We bought responsibly and locally, the mower was from Breckland Mowers of Attleborough, wood for the shed from Kings Lynn & Swaffham, seeds from Boston, insect hotels from Great Yarmouth, Etsy picnic bench from Wolverhampton. Many other items were from Amazon Smile, supporting British wildlife charities.

Area: The planned size was 500m2, but increased to over 700m2 by including the covered brick floor as a Cornfield flower area, strimming and mowing the corner of the track to avoid it cutting across the meadow, clearing an overgrown area and pruning trees to move the track to the back of the site.

Flowers: In May 2023 Poppies, Cornflowers and Corn Chamomile flowered. Wild Pansies, Corn Marigolds and other species flowered later. Annuals flower first, perennials take up to two years. We'll invite the public to join us in June again to see the flowering meadow. See the Picture Gallery of the meadow in flower.

Slideshows: I created slideshows of making the meadow, the meadow in flower and a Combination of both for the multimedia screens in the visitor centre, and we'll make a sign with a picture of the flowers to go in the meadow so visitors can see what it looks like when in flower all year round.

Mown Paths: The mower effortlessly cut paths through the tall meadow growth, its the ideal width for paths. We kept paths cut all summer with a clearing for the picnic bench, we'll vary the position of the paths each year.

Wildlife: We bought A3 laminating pouches and angled edging strips with grant funds and made a sign from re-used wood to show creatures seen in the meadow, with a whiteboard area for recording new wildlife. When perennials flower and attract new species next season we'll update the sign. 

Maintenance: The project is complete but wildflower meadows need a lot of annual maintenance, see the Wildflower Meadow Maintenance page to see what is involved and what we have done so far.

Graham Bartlett,  Project Co-ordinator        

Interactive Plan    Maintenance    Green Grant     Volunteer    Grants   Gallery   Slideshow     20/8/21   1/10/22

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 20/8/21  1/10/22     Green Community Grant         Gallery         Maintenance