Nature Reserves and Wildflower Areas
In 2012 the parks department followed the success of a wildflower and grass area at Harnham Recreation Ground with the creation of a wildflower drift in Bourne Hill Gardens. Working with Bright Seeds of Swallowcliffe, two mixes of wildflower were chosen – an Old English Meadow mixture and a mix specially designed for shady areas. This project has improved the biodiversity of Bourne Hill, as well as adding interest for insect, butterflies and human visitors alike.
Since then the City Council have gradually rolled out further areas of longer grass and wildflowers including at Queen Elizabeth Gardens, Victoria Park, Churchill Gardens and Hudson’s Field. Grass has been left to grow longer in swathes at Harnham and Bemerton Heath, with the chalky down encouraging insects to flourish.
There are additional roadside areas to develop wildlife corridors, such as Newbridge and Skewbridge and wildflower turf has been trialled along the river behind Tesco.
Bishopdown includes a large area left as meadow, with paths cut through for dog walkers and those walking to the local school and facilities. The path follows the brow of the hill to Old Sarum – this can be incorporated into circular walks and has lovely views of the city.
On the other side of town, Middle Street Meadow (connected to the city by the Town Path and Broken Bridges) is also to be celebrated for its biodiversity with its pond, rivers and paths cut through the long grass.
There are nature reserves on both sides of the city. The Avon Valley Nature Reserve incorporates the area behind the leisure centre, once the city’s rubbish dump, and the boardwalk which takes visitors along the river past reedbeds and into meadows. Lime Kiln Down can be found on Odstock Road on the route to the hospital. Again, the chalk down and re-wilding encourages wildflowers as well as a variety of insects, birds and butterflies.
If you would like to propose an area near you that might suit longer grass or wildflowers, please do get in touch.