BREAKING HAMPSHIRE HAVANT PETERSFIELD

Volunteers turn verges into wildflower gardens

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Small patches of land owned by East Hampshire District Council can be turned into havens of wildflowers and pollinating insects, thanks to a new scheme. 

Green-fingered volunteers can apply to tend parcels of land in their patch and transform them from mown-grass to an eye-catching paradise for insects. 

One group in Alton has shown the way, taking over a grassy verge off Butts Road and Borovere Gardens. 

With permission from the council, some funding and support from their local councillor – and a lot of hard work – they have turned an unassuming patch of grass into a spectacular pollinator’s paradise. 

Another site in Holybourne is due to be taken over by the same group in September. 

Cllr Ginny Boxall, EHDC councillor for Alton Whitedown, gave the Alton Villages and Local Action Network (AVLAN) £500 to buy equipment and plants – and the rest has been down to hard work and dedication. 

Cllr Boxall said: “You can really see the difference in the area. Previously the land used to be quite unappealing grass.

“When we’re working on the patch local people are always stopping as they walk by to comment on how much nicer it looks.  

“Now it looks wonderful and attracts ladybirds, bees and myriad insects. There is a real crisis with falling insect numbers at the moment and little projects like this can make a big difference.” 

The site has made such an impact that its excellent work was recognised by the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust, a national award. 

The council is looking for other local groups to take on local land in the same way. Not all sites are suitable but please contact the council to discuss a possible site.  

Cllr Robert Mocatta, EHDC’s Portfolio Holder for Climate Change & Placemaking, said: “The scheme has been included in the council’s Climate and Environment Strategy, the document which sets out how the council can fight climate change itself and encourage others to do the same. 

“Planting wildflowers on small patches of land like this looks great and gives local biodiversity a much-needed boost. It takes a lot of hard work but when it’s done right it is really worth it.”