Residents of a coastal town have created a “vital green wildlife corridor” alive with rare bees and butterflies for the enjoyment of future generations.
Councilor Fiona Hanlon, Grange Ward Councilor at South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), started the Wildflower Meadow Project from scratch five years ago at Olive Way in Grange-over-Sands.
Ownership of the trail, which runs from the Promenade to the parking lot at Berners Close, was transferred to SLDC following the construction of new homes at Cedric Walk (named after the former Queen’s Guide to the Sands, Cedric Robinson and his late wife, Olive).
“The wildflower meadow project has been hard work but a total delight,” said Cllr Hanlon, who was elected to SLDC in August of this year. “The whole community really supported him, and many others in South Lakes waiting to receive their COVID injections at the nearby doctor’s office were delighted to find out.
“I made and placed benches from planks and stumps donated by Barker’s timber merchants amidst wildflowers overlooking the bay and these are now used daily by locals and visitors alike. . ”
The Olive Way plot first caught the attention of Cllr Hanlon in 2016 via a resident living nearby. “Unfortunately, this provided a messy walk for locals and a bad first impression of Grange for visitors to the walk,” said the district councilor, who set out to tidy up the lane and replant it with wildflowers and pollinating plants to attract bees, birds and butterflies. .
“As I was finishing the first sections the local community got involved by donating donated plants and last year I received funding from the Bay Villa Trust from the Grange City Council, Grange Lions and House barn trade to purchase additional bulbs, plants and mulch, ”said Cllr. Hanlon, who is grateful to everyone who has helped so far including SLDC Grange Ward Councilor Cllr Peter Endsor and the Grange Children.
“In the fall of 2020, I started our new wildflower meadow, named Daisy’s Meadow in honor of my granddaughter. I have involved the Grange CE School and a local early childhood facility, Mi-Newts, to sow the seed so that in the future the youngest in our community will see it as theirs and hopefully be. , interested in pursuing it.
Lynn Lacey, who runs Mi-Newts Childcare in the city, said: “All the kids enjoyed the project and we went several times a week to watch the wildflowers grow. We especially liked the wild variety of butterflies and insects that the flowers attracted. We are a real team of mini eco-warriors.
SLDC’s Climate Change Action Plan emphasizes the importance for local citizens to feel a “sense of belonging” and empowerment when a community’s green space is enhanced, so that the benefits flow. will materialize “long in the future”.
The wildflower meadow is a perfect example of this ambition and SLDC’s contractors, Continental Landscapes, have now taken over the pruning, mulching and pruning tasks of the meadow. They work closely with Cllr Hanlon to ensure that the site’s biodiversity is protected and enhanced.
“The council has now secured the future of Olive Way as a vital ecological corridor for wildlife,” said Cllr Hanlon. “The project was a steep learning curve, but a huge success with locals and visitors alike who now go out of their way to walk down the alley and sit on the benches to enjoy the flowers and wildlife.
“We now have many different species of bees and two rare coastal butterflies among our 15 species. The Small Heath butterfly was once widespread, but it’s now on the priority list. The little blue is also now a priority species for conservation efforts and the fact that I’ve spotted it several times here on Olive Way and reported in Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly annual account is very important.
After planting a bluebell walk in the winter of 2020, Cllr Hanlon is now turning weed-filled banks into a meadow garden using donated plants. “It will ultimately be a drought-tolerant feast for pollinators and birds, merging with the grasses and wildflowers already present,” she said.
“I thought this might be my last big project, but while planting I found a huge and very beautiful bright green frog among my plants, so I’m now planning a safe wildlife pond near the meadow and garden of the meadow. “
Paying tribute to Cllr Hanlon and the people of Grange, Sue Warner, SLDC’s local team leader, added: “Thank you to everyone who helped make Olive Way absolutely beautiful. We look forward to seeing the prairie continue to thrive for future generations.