Going wild in Walsall
Visitors to King George V Playing Felds in Bloxwich may have noticed things seem to be getting a little wild! Walsall’s Clean and Green team are working on a project to ‘rewild’ Walsall, bringing a rich mix of wild flowers, insects and wildlife back to some of our open spaces across the borough.
Turf blocks, pre planted with the perennial flowers, chosen for their excellent immediate impact were laid in February to much curiosity from regular visitors to the park. Wildflowers such as Yarrow, Oxeye daisy and violets are now beginning to bloom in two large areas in the park, which were previously open grassy spots. This type of planting has also taken place in other areas around Walsall, such as The Butts, Kings Hill Park, Darlaston, Reedswood Park, Birchills and Silverdale Park. Bulb planting and woodland thinning has also taken place at King George V Park.
Councillor Oliver Butler, Portfolio Holder for Clean & Green and Leisure said:
“It’s so important to give nature every opportunity to thrive within our borough. The ‘Rewilding Walsall’ project is helping to do just that, improving the habitats which are vital for pollinators including bees, insects and invertebrates and other wildlife. As well as being beautiful to be in and look at, these habitats are key to helping increase different species of plants and insects and small mammals in our environment. It’s disappointing to learn that England has lost 97% of its traditional wildflower meadows since 1930. We’re committed to investing in Walsall’s environmental wellbeing in our urban residential areas, as well as those more rural spots around the borough.”
Approved by Council in October 2020, the ‘Climate Change Action Plan’ calls for improvements to habitats and nature conservation, as part of the ‘Nature Recovery Network’. This supports the Healthy Spaces team’s own ‘Green Space Strategy’ from 2018 when recommendations were made to adapt the way some of the borough’s open spaces were maintained, to encourage the growth of native wild flowers and the natural environments for insects and other wildlife.
Some areas in Walsall such as Nest Common in Pelsall, The Swannies in Goscote and Aldridge Airport are already successfully established as wild meadows. This approach to rewilding can take a lot longer to evolve as it relies on grass being cut much less often and changes in the fertility of the soil over the seasons to provide wildflowers with the conditions in which they can grow.
If you would like more information about the ‘Rewilding Walsall’ project please contact Walsall’s Healthy Spaces team on HealthySpaces@walsall.gov.uk or search Facebook: Walsall Healthy Spaces.