THE Vale of Glamorgan board introduced an innovative grass-mowing regime in a range of green spaces to create meadows of wildflowers.
Working in partnership with Vale Local Nature Partnership, a group made up of local businesses, charities and other organizations, a selection of sites in the department have been identified for this purpose.
Chancellor Peter King, Member of Vale of Glamorgan’s Council Cabinet for Neighborhood Services and Transport, said: “In total we now have almost 250,000 m2 of wildflower areas throughout the valley.
“This is not only extremely beneficial for wildlife, but also for the environment and demonstrates our commitment to Project Zero, the council’s plan to become carbon neutral.
“Over the past two decades much of the tree cover has been lost in the county, and although we have continued to plant trees in our parks and gardens, we still have a long way to go to make up the shortfall. .
“This new approach should create large areas where nature can thrive, making them richer in biodiversity and places that everyone can enjoy.”
These include an area of the Old Knap Lido and locations around Marine Drive, Salisbury Road and Cliff Top in Penarth.
Cutting the grass less often stimulates biodiversity, helps insects and animals to pollinate and helps combat the environmental impact of CO2 emissions.
A machine is used to collect the cuttings, reducing the level of nutrients in the soil, which encourages wildflowers to grow as they thrive in nutrient poor soil.
At Marine Drive, the project involves changing grassland management in two areas.
In the first, known as the Wildflowers of the West and Wilder Areas, an approximately 23,500 m2 meadow adjacent to Cliff Wood on the west side of Marine Drive was left to grow naturally and is only cut off. ‘once in the fall.
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Part of this area is covered with seeds to create an attractive section of wildflowers, with low-cut paths for people to enjoy the scenery.
In the second zone, the wildflower and woodland extension of Birchgrove, an area of grass of about 19,000 m2 towards the other end of Marine Drive receives a similar treatment
Paths have been cut here for people to enjoy the surroundings, while there are plans to increase tree cover on the east side of the site as well, extending the tree line from Birchgrove Woods to Bull Cliff Bank.
This helps to dramatically increase the biodiversity of the area, improving conditions for plants, pollinators and birds, while creating a wildlife corridor that could potentially extend from Porthkerry Park to Romilly Park.
At Cliff Top Walk in Penarth, an old pitch and putt ground that was cut once every two weeks, with greens and fairways cut weekly, will now be run like meadow and cut only twice a year.
To ensure that the longer grass does not affect anyone’s enjoyment of the site, trails have been cut through larger areas which can be used for informal recreation.