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Biodiversity Enhancement Project in Abington Vale Park (Phase 2)

West Northamptonshire Council
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West Northamptonshire Council | 2022 | Northampton

Biodiversity Enhancement Project

The 2nd phase of the Abington Vale Park Biodiversity Enhancement Project has now been completed, adding a new meadow of colour to the previously plain area, with the help of Bridgewater Residents Association and Bridgewater Primary School.

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About the project

The meadow follows on from the 1st phase, which saw the installation of two new trees planted by members of the Bridgewater Residents Association as part of the project and to coincide with the nationwide tree-planting celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The project was funded by The Bridgewater Residents Association and the idverde Community Investment Fund.

The sowing of a new meadow with flower seeds, specifically formulated for pollinating insects, was supported by Bridgewater Primary School, following a brief talk to the children about the basics and benefits of the project. idverde supervisor, Steve Glover, supported in preparing the area ready for the meadow sowing.

Abington Vale Park

Abington Vale Park is an important, small green oasis located in a residential suburb of Northampton, which is also bounded by the busy A45 dual carriageway. Before the meadow, the park had no floral features, and surveys indicate that the biodiversity across the site is low. By sowing the wildflower meadow, biodiversity can be significantly improved – especially as a nectar-rich flower mix was used that is specifically designed to encourage pollinating insects such as solitary, honey and bumblebees, as well as hoverflies, moths and butterflies. The different maintenance and management regimes of the meadow in comparison to the regularly cut amenity grass will also help to create a new and different habitat type that will encourage biodiversity, including small mammals and insects such as crickets and grasshoppers.

The result

Enhancing the aesthetic value of the park with the flowers on the meadow encourages the local community and visitors to come to the site to connect with its wildlife. Access to natural green spaces has been shown to have significant benefits for both mental and physical health – this has been particularly reinforced by the coronavirus pandemic, whereby our parks and open spaces are more important than ever.

The project aimed to work with volunteers and our local communities. The Bridgewater Residents Association believe that by making a difference and getting active, communities and young people getting involved will not only benefit from being active outdoors but also gain a sense of ownership for the project and will be able to use the meadow continually throughout the year as a place of education and inspiration for the natural world around us.

“I am really pleased with today’s event and very impressed by the way in which the children answered all of the questions on the importance of biodiversity and pollinating insects. Nicola Clarke made this very special for them and us” - Katie Baxter, Chair of Bridgewater Residents Association.
“Protecting and caring for our environment and the many creatures we share our green spaces with is more important than ever now that we are all recognising the stark reality of climate change. It is thanks to dedicated groups like the Bridgewater Residents Association that we can all help to make small changes in our neighbourhoods that actually have a really big impact in helping to support our natural biodiversity which enriches our lives on a daily basis.” – Nicola Clarke, Midlands Horticultural Development Manager.