Nature blooms as planted meadow on Siston Common, Kingswood, Bristol

HUNDREDS of volunteers gathered on Siston Common in Kingswood last weekend to plant more than 7,000 wildflowers in a new meadow.

The mass planting marked the start of the Commons Connections project, a £1.26 million project to increase, improve and better connect important habitats in South Gloucestershire for nature, which will also include the planting of more than 6,000 new trees to help fight biodiversity decline.

A day of events included not only the planting, but also activities for children and the entire community in and around the Kingsmead Made Forever Community Hub, designed to capture the imagination of residents of all ages. Children were able to experience how pollinators do their vital work of helping plants grow through play.

They were taken on insect hunts and shown how to make bee hotels.

The Friends of Siston Common have taken people on nature tours to showcase local habitats and the variety of plant life the area is already home to, sharing their wealth of knowledge about the common and its wildlife.

The Common Connections project will include improvements to housing and access to green space in South Gloucestershire.

Improvements will be made to the links between registered common land, unimproved grassland, woodland and associated habitats along the South Gloucestershire-Bristol border.

Planting of trees and wildflowers will take place alongside the conservation of grassland habitats and the creation and restoration of ponds.

The project further aims to raise awareness of conservation and biodiversity and encourage people to visit the sites for their health and wellness benefits.

The day also hosted the award ceremony for the region’s first-ever Bee Bold Awards, organized by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA). The awards program aims to highlight the vital work that pollinators do in our ecosystems and to encourage more people to take bee- and other pollinator-friendly actions in their gardens and open spaces.

Among the winners of the People for nature category, which recognizes organizations that engage their employees, customers, partners and local communities to create spaces for nature; were Thornbury Orchard.

In the Space for Nature category, which recognized organizations that have created gardens and other pollinator-friendly spaces in their workplaces, was Ecus Ltd, an environmental consultancy in Littleton-Upon-Severn.

Chris B. Hall