top of page

How to

Increase floral diversity

The front field was typical Devon sheep pasture – a dense green sward of grass, almost no floral diversity at all.

We used diggers to scrape the turf off over large areas. The turf was used to create banks into which we planted native hedgerow and tree species. The stripped areas were then left, apart from the fact that we sowed some yellow rattle seed.  

Removing the turf removes the grass and thatch in one go and allows any seed in the soil or any available from the surrounding hedgerows to germinate.  This is how parts of our Front Field look now.

Three years later, the dense green sward of grass is unrecognisable.


The other major method that we used was to use livestock to disrupt the pasture by bringing in animals for short periods (six to eight weeks) i.e. mob grazing.  We couldn’t strip all the turf and in any case, we wanted variety in the land so in the central part of the front field we brought in Shetland sheep, then Tamworth pigs and finally Red Ruby Devon cattle to disrupt the grass.

The Tamworths in particular were very effective! We then sowed a local provenance seed mix. 


Lastly, in the back field, we also took in the Red Ruby cattle in order to break up the vegetation. They proved very efficient at it and appeared to love the variety of food on offer. They munched willow and soft rush and trampled down big tracts of bramble, creating gaps in the vegetation and lots of edge habitat where things tend to live. 

bottom of page