Enhancing Biodiversity

in Milford Hollow

9th January, 2022

The careful thinning-out of cow parsley has given other native woodland plants room to grow. We were delighted to discover celandine and Lords and Ladies. See below for more information on how these plants enable a richer woodland environment.

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Celandine (spring messenger, pilewort)

With its shiny, buttercup yellow flowers and a good source of early pollen and nectar for pollinating insects, the celandine is one of the first flowering plants of the season - it nearly always appears in the last week of February when the swallows arrive, chelidonia (Celandine) being the Latin for swallow. As one of the common names suggests, celandine root was used as a haemarrhoid treatment (Pilewort).The bright yellow buttercup-like leaves were used to stop scurvy.

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Lords and ladies or Cuckoo Pint (Arum maculatum)

This plant in the middle ages was connected with lovers. The flowers are contained in a broad, hood like structure called a spathe, inside a club like sadix which gives off an odour of decay attracting insects. Their interesting  flower structures are pollinated by flies. The orange-red berries are eaten by birds, providing a good source of food in late summer and autumn. Having eaten the berries, birds will  then disperse the seed, with new plants often emerging under hedges or in ground under areas where birds perch.The plant flowers April-May and the fruits develop in August. 

Thinning Out of Cow Parsley
20th November

Cow parsley looks magnificent in the spring and is an early source of pollen for bees and hover flies. It is also a food plant for the moth Agonopterix heracliana and a nectar source for butterflies. However, it is quick-spreading and in danger of taking over the whole area. Removing some of the plants will allow our ferns to thrive and the spring bulbs to survive. We were delighted to find several areas of wild garlic that had been over-shadowed. Red campion has been planted alongside some areas of cow parsley as the two plants grow well together and should look lovely when in bloom.

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Seven MAPG members spent a couple of hours carefully removing some of the cow parley plants.

Action Day - 16th October

Twenty volunteers armed with gardening tools, energy and enthusiasm enjoyed a perfect autumn morning digging and planting in Milford Hollow. As well as removing barrow fulls of nettles and cow parsley, we planted 600 bulbs, 80 plants and two trees. Bird boxes were fixed in place and holes were bored into logs to create havens for insects. Salisbury's MP John Glen planted a holly tree and commented on the worthwhile contribution MAPG are making to the local community. 

Click here to read the Salisbury Journal article.

Rewilding Milford Hollow

24th September

Over the coming months volunteers will be laying a path and beginning a planting scheme of bulbs, ferns, perennials and shrubs. All native to English woodlands, these plants will attract birds, butterflies, pollinators and insects. Nesting boxes and areas of dead wood, leaf litter and composting vegetation, will be added to provide habitats. Our aim is to help nature to flourish, as well as creating an area that can be enjoyed by passers-by.


For more information email us on: milfordpreservationgroup@gmail.com


Many thanks to Wessex Care and Salisbury City Council for their support

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Click on the 'Rewilding' photograph below to open our long term planting scheme.


Making Plans and Laying the Path