A beauty spot at the Crook O’Lune near Lancaster, known locally as Hermitage Field, is getting a new lease of life as a wildflower meadow.
A formal 12 year license agreement has been finalised between Lancaster City Council as owner of the site and charitable residents’ group, Hermitage Field Community Meadow. The agreement will allow the group to manage a five acre plot of land in the field on the council’s behalf as a wildflower meadow.
Hermitage Field already contributes to the area being a popular place to visit, with car park and picnic facilities nearby, as well as stunning views across the Lune Valley. The remaining two acres at the centre of the field is already being managed under a separate licence by charity ‘Life for a Life’, as a memorial forest.
The Hermitage Field Community Meadow charity was recently set up by a group of local residents and has already acquired funding to help them create and manage the meadow. Work has begun on preparing the land before new planting can take place later in the year. The aim of the project is to develop an attractive and enhanced landscape at the popular site which will complement the new memorial forest.
The paths running through the site and parallel with the road will be retained and maintained to enable visitors to the Crook O’Lune to enjoy access to the field.
Councillor Kevin Frea, Cabinet member for climate action and member of Crook O’Lune Advisory Committee, said: “The creation and development of a wildflower meadow at Hermitage Field by local people that are passionate about the conservation of this special place, has provided the council with another perfect opportunity to breathe new life into this treasured beauty spot.
"As well as looking incredibly attractive and complementing the natural beauty of the memorial forest on the same site, the new arrangement will also have massive ecological benefits. Introducing pollinating plants and enticing pollinating bees, insects and other wildlife to the site will increase biodiversity as well provide a local seed bank for other potential meadows.”
“The arrangement also supports the aims of the council’s new grassland management strategy which will see changes to the way grass is cut in local parks and public spaces, again to help increase biodiversity and meet the council’s climate change commitments.”
The initiative was spearheaded by local resident and trustee of the charity, Erica Sarney who initially set up a group called the Community Pollinator Patches and went on to form the charity with a number of like-minded friends.
Erica said: "We’re very much looking forward to getting this exciting project off the ground and creating a stunning meadow teeming with wildflowers and wildlife for everyone to enjoy. Local people love this area so much and which is also part of a popular ramble overlooking the Lune Valley towards Ingleborough.
"We really hope everyone enjoys the meadow and may be inspired to come and join us, when restrictions allow, to help us bring it to life. For more information and how you can get involved, visit our website at www.hermitagefieldcommunitymeadow.com”
The charity has secured funding from Plantlife, The Areti Charitable Trust, Halton Lune Hydro Trust, Forest of Bowland AONB and Life for a Life Memorial Forests. Part of the site has already been sown with seed from Lancashire's Coronation Meadow at Bell Sykes Farm, Forest of Bowland AONB, as well as Gait Barrows Reserve in Silverdale.
The project will be growing wildflowers with volunteers in polytunnels at the council’s White Lund Depot in Morecambe.