Now is the ideal time to visit Tarmac’s Panshanger Park to experience the Rifle Butts meadow in full flower.
The meadow – which boasts a dazzling display of wildflowers – was used in the 19th century for rifle practice by volunteers of the Hertfordshire Volunteer Battalion.
It was seeded by Panshanger Park volunteers in the winter with yellow rattle, which is hemi-parasitic on grasses, meaning it reduces their vigour and enables finer grasses and wild flowers to germinate and prosper.
As a result, the meadow is now home to a wide variety of native wildflowers including bird’s-foot trefoil, greater knapweed and oxeye daisy – as can be seen now.
Previously an area of agriculturally improved grassland, the meadow was identified by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust as having potential for enhanced biodiversity. The Tarmac park team originally seeded the meadow with a wildflower rich mix in 2014 and have reintroduced traditional hay meadow management. This involves taking a hay cut late in the summer once the wildflowers have set their seed.
If you’d like to come and take a look for yourself, the Rifle Butts meadow is in the eastern end of the park, south of Osprey Lake.