Rewilding England’s wildflower habitats – with Bryan Raines

Growing up in Northern Ireland, my dad used to take us on a spring Sunday afternoon to a magical place he called Bluebell Wood. I can’t remember where it was, but it must have been one of the few wooded areas locally where native bluebells blossom under native trees.

As well as looking beautiful, wildflower ecosystems are important forage for bees and critical for a range of species of native butterflies and other insects. In turn, these provide food for birds and reptiles.

In the UK, these habitats should be particularly special to us Humans because they have co-existed with human pastoral activity for thousands of years. Unfortunately with modern monocultural chemical farming practices, wildflower ecosystems have drastically declined in the UK.

On this show recorded in early March 2017, I chat with Bryan Raines from Test Valley in Hampshire, England, about the methods he, with the help of his wife Uli,  has used to restore a variety of wildflower habitats on what was just bare grassland when their property was purchased some 20 years ago. It‘s a great success story, thanks to Bryan and Uli’s dedication, with 35 different species of butterfly reported seen on the property – each species adapted to the different wildflower ecosystems that have been created.

To listen to this programme about WILDFLOWER HABITATS please click on

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to

This show was originally broadcast on the 6th April 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Bryan Raines

Bryan in a wood he has rewilded. Once livestock were excluded, the bluebells returned from dormant seed.

A variety of livestock allowed temporarily onto the land, are an essential part of restoring and maintaining wildflower ecosystems.





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