Local councillor Jean Cash has lived in Seaford for many years, and her mother used to play in the Martello Fields as a child, when it was known as the “Sea Meadows”! These days the fields are well used for events and recreation, but wouldn’t it be great if there could be meadows too?
Last year during lockdown when the mowing stopped, flowers started to bloom all over the fields, and I was amazed to see common blue butterflies here for the first time. As found in a plant survey carried out last year, there is actually an extraordinary range of habitats and plants that grow round the different areas of the fields.
On the Verge volunteers recently had a meeting with Idverde who cut the grass for the council, and they are keen to agree on some areas of these fields that will be left longer for wildlife during the Summer.
There are also plans for a garden in Cliff Gardens which is the unmade road between the Pump field and the middle Martello field. This will take time, but the enthusiastic committee are also keen to use the nearby Pump field, to increase planting and diversity, and to use the area for educational purposes.
It won’t be easy planting in this area. The salt, wind and chalk soil are challenging to gardeners, but it can be done! When walking up College Road I’ve always been inspired by a garden on the side of the pavement. In a time when so many people are paving their front gardens for parking, I was delighted to hear how Mary took out parking spaces to grow plants here! Her garden is a real triumph, and a real inspiration for “On the Verge” as our ambassadors try to persuade people to encourage wildlife into their gardens.
“I did a bit of research, dug up the tarmac in the front garden and planted a wildlife friendly shelter belt of tamarix and rosa rugosa to shelter the back garden from the worst of the wind. I added a gravel garden and experimented with plants which could survive the tough conditions, particularly sea-shore plants such as the horned poppy, sea lavender, sea campion, sea holly and sea aster. I sowed teasels to provide seeds for the birds.” Mary Burr
You can read more about Mary’s garden and the Cliff Garden project in this month Seaford Scene (online here).
What a wonderful example of creating wildlife corridors that we can all enjoy. Maybe one day more of the birds and insects that come down from Seaford Head will make it across the fields and into Mary’s garden, and into other green spaces in the town.
We would love to hear what you are doing for wildlife in your garden, and do let us know what plants and wildlife you see in this area!