Before the day of the battle,
tapes were placed on either side of the daffodil beds. The patch
earth was not caused by the re-enactment - it was there when the
daffodils first flowered (2015)
little unfair. We liaised extensively with
the local authorities, and with the Sealed Knot as well
as horticultural specialists and spent a great deal of
time assessing all the options.
"It is far less
practical than people think to find an alternative venue
for the battle, with planning, traffic and health and
safety issues to consider. Mill Island got a new
drainage system a few years back and the ground there
was in much better shape than other open spaces in the
"The horticultural advice was that many daffodils at
this stage of growth would recover from being trampled
on (dogs are running through them daily at present), and
that a very severe frost or waterlogging of the ground
would pose a more serious threat than the battle.
Nevertheless, the daffs in bloom are a fantastic and
much-loved spectacle and we didn't want to take any
"The hard job was
balancing the concern for the daffodils with the concern of
those who felt equally strongly that the event is important for
the town and needed to go ahead.
"The soldiers make
their way to Nantwich every year on a voluntary basis, so we
didn't want to start restricting their numbers and risk their
future support. With gunpowder and weapons involved, they also
have strict health and safety criteria to work to, which
requires a minimum size and space.
"In the event, after
many trips to Mill Island in our spare time, and a lot of
co-operation from everyone and support from Cheshire East, we
were able to devise a plan that would protect all but a few of
the daffodils. It meant that the spectators were a little
further from the action, and some adjustments in how the battle
was staged, but hopefully that didn't
"We estimate that more
than 95% of the daffodils were totally untouched, and that even some
of the casualties will recover."
Sadly some daffodil
damage was caused by spectators ignoring the barriers and
stewards' instructions, in order to try and get a better view,
which was disappointing after all our efforts.
"There was also
concern expressed on social media
about cutting up the ground.
However, the grass invariably recovers well when Spring comes
along. In the days before the new drainage system, the ground
conditions were far worse than they were this year and it was
never a problem, so we were always confident on that score.
"The ground dried out
well in the run up to the battle, and in the event, half of the
area used for the battle appears largely unchanged with just a
muddy patch in the central area.
"It was one of the
best-attended Holly Holy Days in recent years - we think as much
as 20% more people than last year. Ironically, I know that some
people were making the effort to be here in order to show
support for the event after all the controversy, so it probably
"The event was
featured on a Radio 2 programme which gets about six million
listeners, and putting Nantwich on the national map wouldn't do
any harm either.
"Hopefully many people
enjoyed it and the town's pubs and eating places seemed
especially busy. The only complaint I have had so far was from
someone who struggled to find a table at a restaurant in the
evening, because it was full everywhere!"