Wapley Common, Picnic area and Local Nature Reserve
Grass cutting at Wapley
The diversity of the meadows is maintained by traditional hay meadow management practices such as hay cutting in June or July.
This allows the spring and early summer flowers to seed themselves for following years, and prevents the stronger grasses and herbs from taking over. The cut grass is taken away to stop the soil becoming richer, which would also favour grass rather than wildflowers.
The main Wapley Common is cut more frequently because it is a recreational area.
In the orchard area next to the main Wapley Common we only cut a third of the grass each year, by rotation. The uncut grass falls and produces a grassy mat. This is an ideal environment for small mammals such as mice, shrews and voles. They become a food source for owls (“owl takeaways”), attracting tawny owls to nest in the nearby woodland fringe.