Croydon Council is busy establishing more wildflower and bee and butterfly-friendly road verges and habitats across the borough.
Working alongside the London Wildlife Trust a number of sites have been targeted to improve the environment for wildlife and wildflowers as part of the council’s Bee Highways and Butterfly Corridors campaign. At the current time two chalk banks are being created in Milne Park and scrapes to expose chalk are taking place in Falconwood Meadow and Foxley Wood. Wildflowers grow well in chalk grassland. Bradmore Green was also recently re-seeded to create a wildflower area.
There are also plans for wildflower areas in Sanderstead Recreation Ground and Higher Drive Recreation Ground, while mowing regimes are changing across the borough to ensure more wildflowers grow on road verges and so encourage a greater number of birds, butterflies and wildlife.
Resident Judith Johnson, who lives in Ellenbridge Way, South Croydon is thrilled that a change in the mowing regime has resulted in orchids and other wildflowers being allowed to flower in the road verges close to her home.
She said, “The council maintains a one-metre edge to the wildflower area which shows the residents that what they are doing is deliberate but the rest is left to grow into a glorious meadow. We’ve had ox eye daisies and birds foot trefoil and lots of bees, birds and butterflies and it will be even better next year because every year the actual grass subsidies and the wildflowers take over. I applaud the council for just letting the grass grow and it has been a joy to behold.”
If any residents would like to nominate their road to be a ‘wildlife friendly road’ by changing the mowing regime of their road verge to encourage more wild flowers they can register their interest by emailing email@example.com Residents need to be able to commit to assist with the raking up of any cut grass and vegetation once or twice a year and seek the agreement from the majority of residents in their street.
“Following the success of the Street Champions we are asking what part you can play in taking pride in our area and help maintain the beautiful wildflower verges and habitats we are setting up across Croydon.
“We are already an incredibly green borough but we want to do more and the creation of wildflower areas is crucial to this vision. More wildflowers means greater biodiversity and a home for more bees, butterflies, insects and birds. We are already working hard in matters such as recycling and street cleaning but allowing nature to thrive is of paramount importance as we look to the future”
Councillor Stuart Collins, deputy leader – Clean Green Croydon
The focus of creating more wildflower meadows is also part of a two-year project, funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery and delivered in collaboration with the London Wildlife Trust, Butterfly Conservation and Natural History Museum called Brilliant Butterflies.
The aim is to create a ‘living landscape’ of chalk grassland in areas across Croydon and work with communities to create butterfly colonies in their local green spaces.
Catherine Cullen, project manager for the Brilliant Butterflies project said, “Croydon was chosen because of its amazing chalk grassland. It’s a rare habitat and 80% of it has been lost since 1945. So we’re working hard to conserve it and our project also involves work in four nature reserves in south Croydon. In certain conditions you can get up to 40 different species of wildflower in a square metre and that in turn supports lots of pollinating insects and butterflies. The more we endeavour with this project the more people in Croydon realise what incredible wildlife they have on their doorstep.”