DWT’s Heart of Durham Volunteers Plug the Gap

The “Waistcoat Lads” as they are effectionatly called, due to their  spectacular waistcoats, have turned their fingers to numerous planting projects for the Heart of Durham, from growing plug plants for Northumbrian Water, tending nectar plants and marsh violets for small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly sites and generally keeping an eye on the small nursery area at Low Barns.

Plugging the Gap is a two year project being led by the North Pennines AONB Partnership and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The aim of the project is to collect wildflower seeds form roadsides and verges, to propagate these seeds and to plant them out once the plants have established as good plugs into meadows within the North Pennines AONB . The Heart of Durham Works on a landscape scale, with many of the sites  the project works on lying within the North Pennines AONB, so the partnership is therefore beneficial.

Mixing the compost and sand


From left to right, Ruth Starr-Keddle NPAONB partnership, Alan Gowland, Dave Grey, Paul Archer and Kenny Toppin


Ruth demonstrating that some seeds require cleaning prior to planting, to mimic the natural life cycle of the seed
Dave uses sand paper to abrase the outer covering of the seed


Pots of seed in the plant area at Low Barns

So lying beneath the compost waiting for spring are melancholy thistle, meadow cranes bill, water avens, pignut and many more seeds, that will eventually be planted out to increase biodiversity of meadows thereby encouraging larger variation of insects and butterflies.

To find out more about volunteering with the Heart of Durham Project or the Low Barns Nursery, please contact Anne Porter at aporter@durhamwt.co.uk or call 01388 488 740.