Watford Council launches new ‘Rewilding’ initiative at Cassiobury Park to help nature bloom

Watford Borough Council is embracing biodiversity with a new rewilding programme that will create beautiful wildflower meadows throughout Cassiobury Park next year...

Published: Friday, 7th May 2021
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Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor with the Friends of Cassiobury Park

Watford Borough Council is embracing biodiversity with a new rewilding programme that will create beautiful wildflower meadows throughout Cassiobury Park next year.

The stunning wildflower displays which will support our native pollinators will take a year to establish, and by spring 2022 park-users and wildlife will be able to fully enjoy these new habitats. They will be planted with native wildflower species and managed sensitively by reducing mowing for a more naturalised landscape and to help bring the countryside back into Cassiobury Park.

The council are working with the Hertfordshire & Middlesex Butterfly Conservation Trust and Friends of Cassiobury Park, to use their extensive knowledge to plant appropriate wildflower seeds for butterflies and insects. The species that will be planted include: Tufted Vetch, which attracts Bumble bees, the Garlic Mustard, an important food plant for caterpillar species and also the Sweet Vernal Grass and Crested Dogstails, both which are good source of food for the larvae of Brown and Skipper butterflies.

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Wildflower-rich meadows and grasslands are precious places for wildlife. A lifeline for bumblebees, butterflies and other pollinating insects, meadows are also a food source for seed-eating birds, offer shelter for small mammals and provide hunting grounds for bats and insect-eating birds. However traditional wildflower meadows have vanished from much of our countryside. Nationwide, a staggering 97% of flower-rich grasslands have been lost since the 1930s.

The rewilding project is also a key part of the Council’s new Sustainability Strategy Plan, as part of our ambitious goal is to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030. The plan focuses on promoting natural solutions to climate challenges and you find out more at www.watford.gov.uk/sustainablewatford.

Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said: “Our wildflower habitats have sadly been in sharp decline during the 20th Century. However, more wildflower meadows have been created in the UK in recent decades and to continue this positive change, Cassiobury Park is transforming two areas of amenity grassland into new wildflower meadows this year.

“This initiative to help sow wildflower meadows and ‘rewild’ our parks will help by a crucial part in stopping decline of insects, including bees and butterflies nationwide. It’s not just good for wildlife, but they also boost our own wellbeing, with the sight of wildflower meadows in bloom and teeming with wildlife. Pollinating insects are the lifeblood of our environment so anything we can do to support them as part of this project is fantastic.”

The meadows will also provide opportunities for education and community involvement through activities such as seed bombing, a method of sowing wildflowers and helping us nurture these important habitats. If you would like to get involved, please visit www.watford.gov.uk/cassioburypark

Friends of cassiobury park cassiobury wildflowers

 

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