Prestigious praise for community wildflower meadows

grow wild

Published Friday 4 September 2015

A wildflower project in the New Forest has been hailed as one of the best in the country by experts from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The community scheme, supported by the National Park Authority, has been praised for turning urban spaces into blooming havens for bees and butterflies.

More than 300 volunteers and school children have helped grow swathes of native wildflowers at six community meadows and 10 schools across Lymington and Barton-on-Sea.

The Grow Wild scheme is designed to bring communities together to brighten up schools and public spaces, and provide nectar for bees and other pollinating insects which are threatened by habitat loss. Patients at Lymington New Forest Hospital have also been benefitting from the uplifting site of meadows buzzing with wildlife.

Grants of between £1,000 and £4,000 have been awarded to Grow Wild projects across the UK thanks to the Big Lottery Fund and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which has praised the New Forest scheme.

Vinny Ganley, England Partnership Manager at Kew, said: ‘The Grow Wild project in the New Forest has been fantastic. It is one of the best examples from across the country of a community coming together to re-establish wildflowers and help our bees and butterflies.’

Colourful displays of poppies, corn marigolds and bluebells have been seen from May to August at Woodside in Lymington, Lymington Meadow and Lymington Hospital, as well as Long Meadow at Barton-on-Sea.

Wildflowers have also been planted by pupils, staff and parents at several local schools, including Pennington Junior School, Priestlands School in Lymington and Bransgore Primary School.

Project co-ordinator Gill Hickman, from Transition Lymington, said: ‘So many areas have been transformed by wildflowers. My hope is that with these successes we can get similar schemes off the ground to inspire communities and enhance biodiversity.’

The Grow Wild scheme has also been supported by a number of local organisations including New Forest Land Advice Service, Lymington & Pennington Town Council, New Milton Town Council, Barton-on-Sea Community Group and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Angela Peters, from New Forest Land Advice Service, said: ‘We’ve been delighted to support this project which has shown the power of flowers to draw communities together. It’s been wonderful to see so many local children and schools getting involved as their enthusiasm will be vital in future years to help conserve vital habitats for our wildlife.’

For more information on Grow Wild visit www.growwilduk.com

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Notes to photo editor:

Gill Hickman, project co-ordinator; Angela Peters, New Forest Land Advice Service; Angus Humber, volunteer; Martina Humber Lymington and Pennington Town Council.

Notes to editor:

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more

Media Contact:

Matt Stroud, Communications Assistant, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: matt.stroud@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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