By 2017 the paddock had been left uncut or grazed for six years.
Scrub/tree encroachment has been negligable and easily controlled. That is by mowing small areas next to Blackthorn hedge, or by hand trimming the odd tree seedling as it arises.
Nectar plants: the best nectar plants are Sallow trees by the pond for bees and butterflies in March, Brambles in the hedges and Thistles for the main summer butterfly season followed by Knapweed for later summer. There are also a few Buddlias and Self Heal when left to flower in the lawn and Ivy for autumn visitors.
Grassland species changes: the paddock is no longer a uniform mixture of species (if it ever was). Different grass species have come to dominate different parts of the site quite apart from the welcome areas of nettle and Creeping Thistle. In some parts this has led to the gradual formation of a dense, thick mat of old, dead grass left over from previous years crowding out some of the commoner species such as Cocksfoot and Timothy. One or two of the monoclonal Creeping Thistle patches have also lost their previous vigour.
By 2017 the site was still excellent for butterflies and bees with some less good parts. I had planned to deal with these less favourable parts by cutting every 3-4 years in rotation to allow recovery of some of the swamped out species. Noticing how the site varies from part to part I will now be refreshing the deteriorated areas as and when necessary. From 2017 selected areas are cut in Mid July, short enough to destroy the basal dead layers and then kept short for the remainder of that season. I expect that one or two plots will need this treatment each year and that each cut will last a few years before repeating.