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New meadow in Canvey to protect wildlife
A NEW meadow the size of a football pitch is being created at a popular country park to help support rare local wildlife.
Wildlife conservation charity Buglife is creating a wildflower meadow at Canvey Heights Country Park to help nurture pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies and moths.
A giant seeding machine descended on the park, off Smallgains Avenue, on Monday to sew seeds for common knapweed, birds foot trefoil and wild carrot, which are rich in pollen and nectar providing food for insects.
Experts hope the new meadow will help support nationally important populations of the rare and endangered Shrill-carder and Brown-banded carder bumblebees which are already home there, and pave the way for more endangered wildlife.
Jamie Robins, Buglife South Essex Stepping Stones Officer, said “Planting native wildflowers rich in nectar and pollen at Canvey Heights Country Park will provide a valuable stepping stone of habitat for rare and endangered invertebrates.”
The new meadow forms part of Buglife’s three-year project to improve wildlife havens in south Essex – a scheme funded by the Tubney Charitable Trust and supported by Castle Point Council.
Preparation work began earlier this year when the charity, alongside volunteers from Groundwork South Essex and Writtle College students began raking over and mowing the ground.
Councillor Colin Riley, Castle Point Council cabinet member for the environment, said: “The many invertebrates already populating the site will benefit from the nectar-rich meadow, adding yet more biodiversity to this former landfill site.
“Walking around the site now with its commanding views out over the estuary- and its resident Skylarks- it’s hard to remember that this beautiful elevated park was an old tip.”
Since World World II ended, the UK has lost over 97% of wildflower-rich grassland which has played a major part in the decline of pollinating insect colonies.
Buglife will continue to work with Castle Point Borough Council and project partners to ensure the site is better managed for wildlife and to ensure that the wildflower meadow blooms next spring.