The growing season has started rapidly with sun following the rain and the Friends of Chelford Station are doing all they can to make the platforms look bright and cheerful. Here's their latest report.
The new planter on the Manchester bound side is looking wonderful thanks to the magnificent efforts of Heather Hammond, one of the original four station volunteers. She has done a fabulous job in choosing the plants and arranging them so that they'll look cheerful and bright from both sides.
We are very grateful to John Kenny and Sarah Morgan from the Community Rail Partnership for providing the funds to build and plant up the large planter in this tricky area.
We decided to do 'No Mow May' for some more of the grassy parts this year. The bank next to the path to the Crewe-bound side has been managed like this for a three years now and the diversity of species is really improving. The most obvious signs are the spreading of primroses, dog violets, bluebells and hedge cranesbill. From now until August, we'll strim a strip next to the path and plant up the little border. In August, we'll do a rough cut of most of the bank and cart off the cuttings rather as you would for a traditional hay meadow. The benefits for wildlife and in particular bees are great.
We've cut a strip at the edge of the Crewe bound platform to clear the planters and seat. The next cut will be in mid June. The planters are due to be planted up soon.
The grassy patch to the left of the station building will also be cut in mid June. At present, leaving it unmown has caused a big surge in common vetch, a nitrogen fixer whose flowers are a big treat for the bees.
If you're waiting at the station, put your phone away and look at the lovely view of the hills of the SW Peak. If you look up, you'll also probably see swallows, sand martins, lapwings, oyster catchers, buzzards and sometimes a tawny owl at this time of year.