From small seeds come big changes! Seed collection is a really important part of the restoration project as we intend to return the newly purchased land to quality chalk downland. We have to make sure the soil and conditions are right of course, but without the seed we wouldn't create the quality chalk habitat unique to Wiltshire.

Seed is collected by brush harvesting and by hand. Brush harvesting is basically using a massive hoover attached to a tractor to suck up all the seed. Hand harvesting is much more selective and means we can get special seeds for the butterfly bank. These are things like horseshoe vetch, rock rose, scabious and other smaller chalk specialists. Horseshoe vetch is particularly important as it is the food plant of the chalk specialist Adonis blue butterfly.

Seed collecting

You may have noticed it was a very warm August! Heat ripens seeds and this has meant plants have seeded quickly and all at the same time. Seeds heat and dry and some like vetch pop open from their little peapods spreading the seed. If this happens before we collect it we miss the window and have to wait until next year. Luckily dedicated individuals and teams have come to the nature reserve throughout August to help us collect seed for our new land and butterfly bank. In particular, on Thursday 30 August we ran a 'Wonderful Wildflowers' seed collection event. 18 people from as young as 6 years turned up to help out at. We collected horseshoe vetch, bird's-foot trefoil, scabious and rock rose for the butterfly bank. The Adonis blue was in flight to thank us for our efforts to create more habitat for them. Children (and some parents!) enjoyed pot painting and planting their own Devil's-bit scabious to entice butterflies and bees to their back garden! 

Pot painting

Thank you to anyone who came out to help us collect seed, it was greatly appreciated. If you want to help out with future conservation, we will soon be improving our hedgerows for wildlife by planting trees. Please check out our events or give us an email to find out how you can get involved [email protected] 

Seed collection