Summer is drawing to a close and the wild flower meadow at Keltneyburn has gone to seed and will soon be ready for the cattle to graze over the coming winter. Keltneyburn is located 5 miles west of Aberfeldy and is managed by the Loch of the Lowes ranger team with help from other volunteers. Management prevents larger and more invasive species taking over and blocking out the light to the delicate wild flowers. This means that since spring we have been busy on the reserve cutting bracken and pulling ragwort and thistles in preparation for the arrival of the cattle. The cows are vital for the meadow management as they cut the grass back and break up the tussocks, creating space for the flower seed to germinate next spring.
This year’s hot weather has meant that previous year’s efforts have really paid off, and the meadow was awash with colour from many of the usual suspects such as yellow rattle, ragged robin and harebells, along with some rarer species including small white orchid and birds nest orchid – all of which are great for the pollinating insects! We have seen high numbers of certain butterflies such as green veined whites and ringlets. Unfortunately the number of different butterfly species has been low; this could be due to the previous summer’s bad weather affecting their laying period. Fingers crossed we should see more next year.
Thank you to all of the local volunteers and the SSE staff who have helped at Keltneyburn meadow this year. All of our conservation work wouldn’t have been possible without your commitment and dedication. If you would like to be added to the volunteer mailing list for next year, please email email@example.com.
By Shayl Renyard, Volunteer Assistant Ranger.
For more information on Keltneyburn Meadow please visit: http://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/reserve/keltneyburn