Magical things are happening in Wolverhampton. Behind my flats there is an ‘open space’ (NOT a nature reserve or park, I hasten to add – just an area of open grassland criss-crossed with desire lines.) called Stowlawn Wood. Until last year it was mown regularly and kept as short amenity grassland, which was just fine. I was pleased to have an area of greenery right outside my flats, and had on occasion found some nice invertebrates there, a family of foxes, and once had a close encounter with a sparrowhawk sitting in a tree. This year things are different, as the site is one that was selected by Wolverhampton Council as a ‘Nature Friendly Zone’ in which they mow wide paths along the desire lines, and leave the rest of the plants to their own devices throughout the spring and summer.
What an incredible difference it makes! The grasses (Yorkshire Fog, Perennial Rye Gras, False Oat Grass, Cock’s Foot and Annual Meadow Grass) are tall and blowing in the breeze, and wild flowers (Ox-eye Daisies, Common Knapweed, Meadow Buttercups, Bird’s Foot Trefoil and White Clover, to name a few) are interspersed here and there with busy butterflies (Ringlets and Large Skippers abound!) and bumble bees (Lots of Red and Buff-tailed workers out in force!) visiting them.
I just wanted to take a moment to thank Wolverhampton Council for this fantastic change, and it is sure to go from strength to strength if the regime continues. I can’t tell you how delighted I am. I took these pics on my phone as I walked over the area this morning. As you can see, it looks cared for and manicured along the paths, which are well-maintained, and interpretation signs let people know that it has been done with intent.
I think that it is a fine example of how urban biodiversity can be improved immensely with just a little thought and planning, and, let’s face it – probably LESS effort than it took in previous years to mow it to within an inch of its life.
I just love what they’ve done with the place. Kudos, Wolves Council, you have a very happy resident here, and I’ll keep blogging about & recording the wildlife of Stowlawn Wood in the coming months!
The final picture, below, was taken as I approached the flats, and not ten seconds later a fox bounded out of the long grass some 15 feet in front of me, stopped just long enough to throw me a glance, and then trotted off into the trees.