Skip to main content - Discovering Wildlife in Bristol

Arable Meadow

The ground is shallowly rotavated to bare ground either in the Spring or Autumn on a 2-year cycle. The initial process disturbs the seed bank and encourages long dormant seed to germinate. The result is often extraordinary; even in species-poor locations. A high percentage of plants which aren't present on the surface will appear. It gives a really good insight into the past floral composition.

After having an arable appearance, the ground will quickly thicken out with vegetation and a rougher composition will emerge, with Biennials and short-lived Perennials (such as Teasel) taking centre stage in year 2. At the end of the process the site is razed to the ground and left for a week or two for any remaining seed to drop before raking the vegetation away and rotavating the ground back to square one again. At least tough vegetation such as Teasels will have to be removed before doing so. Otherwise the clippings should be rotavated back into the soil if possible.