A field once used to dump fridges, cars and garden waste is now being used to showcase wild orchids and celebrate the island's "incredible floral diversity".
Le Noir Pré in St Ouen's Bay is one of a number of fields owned by the National Trust for Jersey which showcase the island's native wildflowers in the seasonal promotion of the Trust's 'orchid fields'.
The Trust is inviting islanders to enjoy the exotic flowers of Le Noir Pré and Clos de Seigneur in St Ouen, and in fields in La Blinerie in Grouville this weekend and during its forthcoming #LoveNature Festival which starts on Sunday 28 May.
A National Trust spokesperson described Le Noir Pré as a "wonderful example of what can be achieved through careful consistent conservation management".
"It is also an example of the incredible floral diversity that can be found in the increasingly threatened wetlands in Jersey," they said, adding that it had been used as a rubbish tip in the 1960s.
Pictured: Le Noir Pré is described as "an example of the incredible floral diversity that can be found in the increasingly threatened wetlands in Jersey".
Part of the marshy meadows of St Ouen commonly referred to as the ‘orchid fields’, the land on Le Chemin de L’Ouzière branches inland from the Five Mile Road in St Ouen’s Bay, offer a riot of colour in May and through June, as the flower spikes of three species of orchid – and various hybrids – unfurl their exotic petals.
Le Noir Pré and Clos de Seigneur meadows have become incredibly important reserves for native orchids, and have been managed over many years to maintain the exceptional floral diversity present.
This is achieved by hay cutting every August after the orchids have flowered and dispersed their seeds, and then allowing a small herd of Jersey cows to graze the meadows.
Pictured: The floral diversity is maintained by allowing a small herd of Jersey cows to graze the meadows at certain times throughout the year.
In 1995 there were 1,500 individual orchids, rising to 5,975 in 2000 and, at the last count three years ago, numbers had risen to 49,200 individuals at Le Noir Pré, attracting botanists and nature lovers to St Ouen’s Bay.
The Trust also manages two lesser-known wet meadows off Rue de la Blinerie on the fringes of a larger wetland ecosystem known as the Samarès or Rue de Prés wetland, consisting of reed bed, fen and wet woodland.
The latest survey of the area found 15,917 individual flowers, an increase from 114 surveyed in 2006. They include Loose Flowered Orchids and Southern Marsh Orchids.
Pictured: Islanders are being encouraged to enjoy the exotic flowers of Le Noir Pré and Clos de Seigneur in St Ouen, and in fields in La Blinerie in Grouville.
La Blinerie (Le Don Obbard) is only accessible by foot or bicycle along Rue du Coin, which boarders both parishes of Grouville and St Clement. The footpath in the field will also be open until mid-June and access routes will be signposted.
The Trust asks visitors to the sites to use nearby public car parks where available, to stay on marked footpaths, keep dog on leads and not to pick flowers or plants.
"We also ask people to only visit the fields during open times, when the orchids are in bloom. Entry at other times of the year may inadvertently disturb the protected animal species that this habitat supports and even damage the orchids themselves," the spokesperson added.
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