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WILDFLOWER havens have begun popping up around the town – and the community is being encouraged to nominate more areas to be preserved as spaces for wildflowers and insects to flourish.
As part of the ‘Blue Campaign’ – an initiative that is encouraging areas to be left to ‘rewild’ across Britain – wildflower areas have been created by the Melksham South West in Bloom team in the grounds of St Michael & All Angels’ Church, Canon Square, and on Bath Road, at the entrance to Waitrose.
Separate to the ‘Blue Campaign’ movement, Wiltshire Council is also encouraging residents to nominate areas within the town and across the county to become wildflower havens.
And in response, Melksham Town Council will discuss wildflower planting at their asset management meeting next week, Monday 5th August.
The ‘Blue Campaign’ was launched in 2014 to promote the ‘rewilding’ of gardens, parks, road verges and school grounds – recommending areas be set aside and left to grow through the summer. Areas that have been left to grow are marked with a blue heart symbol, made out of recycled materials, staked into the ground.
Reverend Barry Blackford from St Michael’s Church, pictured, told Melksham News, “The cemetery is open to all the community – it can be a place to come and relax, reflect and think about life, but it can also be a place to support wildlife through schemes like the ‘Blue Campaign’.
“The idea was originally suggested by the Melksham in Bloom team – and I think it is a fantastic idea. We hope to identify other areas within the grounds of the church that could be part of the scheme. And hopefully it might encourage more areas like this across the town. It is essential and important that we look after our environment.”
Speaking on behalf of the Melksham South West in Bloom team, who created ‘Bloomers’ Corner’, the wildflower area on Bath Road, Terri Welch added, “The ‘Bloomers’ Corner’ and the churchyard are small steps that we have taken to support this campaign – we certainly need to do more of this in our town, it’s important for the environment.”
Local residents are also encouraging Wiltshire Council to leave roadside verges to become wildflower areas – an initiative proven successful in Rotherham, which also saved the council £25,000 in mowing costs, as well as benefiting wildlife.
Bo Novak said, “All around Melksham the verges are being cut short to create ‘green deserts’ – which in the heat will become parched yellow deserts! Eastern Drive in particular is at the edge of the town, close to countryside and it would be wonderful to have some unmowed areas which would form part of a habitat corridor. Leaving grass longer allows nature to thrive.”
From Wiltshire Council, Bridget Wayman, cabinet member for highways said, “Wildflowers certainly add to the beautiful Wiltshire landscape in the summer and we know many people like to see them while they’re out and about enjoying the sunshine.
“We’re happy to speak to any member of the community and town and parish councils to identify spots in their local areas where they feel a wildflower area would be suitable and see if we can work together.
“We will also be running trials next year which will include wildflower provision. We will be looking for people’s feedback as some may view a conservation area as being unsightly and unmanaged, so we need to get that balance right.
“We cut verges as late in the season as possible to promote diversity, and any identified as having special or rare species could be classed as a ‘protected road verge’. We would encourage people to visit http://wsbrc.org.uk/wildlife-recording/survey-schemes/protected-road-verge-scheme/ for more information on that scheme.”
In response to Wiltshire Council’s initiative, a representative for Melksham Town Council said, “Wildflower planting is terrific in the right location and circumstances. Wiltshire’s nomination programme is of course something that the council is eager to discuss and as such, it has been added to the agenda for debate at the asset management committee being held on Monday 5th August at the Town Hall at 7pm.”
To nominate an area in Melksham to be a wildflower haven, email the highways team at Wiltshire Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about the ‘Blue Campaign’ to ‘rewild’ areas of the UK can be found on their website: https://bluecampaignhub.com