27 February 2014
LOCAL SCHOOLS HELP PRESERVE MUSEUM’S TRADITIONAL ROOTS
The Wildflower Meadows at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum
An area of downland at the Museum is being restored as a wildflower meadow and will be planted with plant plugs by two local schools, The March C of E Primary School and West Dean C of E Primary School, on the 21 March. Richard Pailthorpe, Director of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, says: “This is very much a ‘hands-on’ activity to focus the importance of nurturing and protecting our environmental heritage and ecosystem to a future generation.”
The environment plays an important part of Museum life at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum. Six historic gardens are managed in a traditional way and fertilised using dung and compost produced on site. Wildflower meadows are managed for bio-diversity and the habitat supports bees, birds, mammals, butterflies and other invertebrate species.
The Museum has teamed up with the Weald Meadows Partnership, the South Downs National Park Authority and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew on this downland restoration project on the north-facing bank which lies between two traditional buildings on the Museum site. “Downland” can be defined as thin soils over chalk, with a high diversity of species. It is a landscape that has been created over generations through grazing and mowing, which is how we continue to manage it today to produce a crop of hay for our animal feed and grazing for our sheep.