Wildflower meadows provide a food source throughout the year for bees, butterflies, and many other pollinators. Our native wildflowers are getting a helping hand at various locations throughout Magilligan through the creation of new meadows and enhancement of existing meadows.
Binevenagh Landscape Partnership Scheme has been working closely with various partners in the Magilligan area to establish mini wildflower nurseries at Magilligan Community Allotments, 3 local primary schools; Hezlett PS, St Aidans PS and Ballykelly PS as well as Magilligan Field Centre. In July last year wildflower seeds were collected from our native wildflowers in the local area and taken back to Magilligan Community Allotments where the amazing team of volunteers nurtured them until they were ready for planting out.
Binevenagh Landscape Partnership Scheme ran a wildflower seed collection training day at Grangemore and other local sites to provide local people of Binevenagh with the skills to collect local native wildflower seeds. This was followed up with a wildflower seed sowing training day at Magilligan Community Allotments in August. The volunteers at Magilligan Community Allotments once again got involved in another training workshop transplanting the wildflowers into bigger pots to encourage continued growth and survival until they were ready for planting out into the local landscape.
The wildflower training workshops were facilitated by Local Ecologist Réamaí Mathers. “It is a real pleasure to provide training to the brilliant groups and help them to learn and appreciate the wildlife that surrounds us. In light of the frightening decline in wild species, it is more important than ever to recreate and enhance these environments.”
The vital wildflowers went to their forever homes in April across the area of Magilligan. The first batch planted at Magilligan Community allotments adjacent to the native apple tree orchard we created the previous year as part of biodiversity enhancement works
It doesn’t stop with the wildflowers, next will be the creation of a pond to further attract wildlife and enhance the variety of native species in the area.
The second batch of our wildflowers went to the Ulster Gliding Club. This fantastic group of people were keen to do as much as they can for local biodiversity and the first step for them was creating a wildflower meadow in the grounds surrounding their landing strip giving a great impact as it is a wide piece of ground to cover.
The third batch of our wildflowers went to our Conservation project site at The Moors of Castlerock. This site is being managed through a sensitive conservation grazing scheme to try and restore this maritime heath and grassland habitat back to favourable condition. Native Irish Cattle, the Irish Moiled began grazing the site in October 2022 until March 2023 in the hope of controlling the dominant species of bracken. The action is to bring back native heath plants and a mosaic of habitats that support a wide range of species including birds, butterflies, moth and lizards. Now that the cattle have done a great job trampling down the bracken to prevent regrowth this should encourage our native wildflowers to re-establish in the area and give the wildflower plugs a good chance to settle in and flourish.
The project is promoting the survival of our common native wildflowers including red campion, ox-eye daisy, field scabious, lesser knapweed, and great burnet, but also the survival of Northern Ireland Priority Species including meadow cranesbill and wood cranesbill. As these two wildflowers are protected species a special license was required from DAERA in order to collect seed and this was carried out under the license acquired by local Ecologist Réamaí Mathers of Aspen Consultants.
Leading the project was Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust, Natural Heritage Project Officer, Laura McAuley through the Binevenagh & Coastal Lowlands Landscape Partnership Scheme, she said “We have a fantastic group of dedicated people in the Magilligan area who are as passionate about our native wildflowers as we are. They are vital in our battle to protect our native wildflowers and ensure the survival of our arctic alpine species. We hope that by setting up the local community allotments and primary schools as mini wildflower nurseries and equipping local people with the skills and knowledge to collect local seed and grow these wildflowers themselves, they will be able to continue the wildflower conservation work long after the Landscape Partnership Scheme has come to an end.
Contact Laura McAuley email@example.com for more information on the project or to learn about getting involved in future activities or visit Binevenagh & Coastal Lowlands Landscape Partnership scheme Facebook page or CCGHT Binevenagh LPS website.
Photo: Our dedicated group of volunteers at Magilligan Community Allotments potting out our locally grown wildflowers
Photo: Red Campion wildflower at all sites.