Partnership project is huge boost for grasslands and wildlife habitats

The three-year project aims to enhance grasslands and wildflower habitats at three sites along the River Soar

Volunteer working on grassland at Watermead Country Park (image credit WWF)

A public space in Broughton Astley is being revitalised for nature, with the improvement of the existing grassland and introduction of more native plants.

The improvements to the site, which is close to the leisure centre and school at the heart of the village, will provide a valuable resource to the local community, create new wildlife habitats, and enhance biodiversity.

The nature-boosting work is being carried out by Leicestershire County Council in partnership with Broughton Astley Parish Council. The county council has designed the landscaping to provide the maximum nature benefit and the parish council is turning those designs into reality.

Works to turn the existing field into a grassland habitat complete with paths and ponds is due to get underway soon, with the project expected to be completed in the autumn. The new grassland and wildlife habitat will allow people to visit and learn about the species which live there, as well as creating new habitats for more species.

The Broughton Astley grasslands improvements are part of a three-year project to boost and enhance grasslands and wildflower habitats at three sites along the River Soar.

The funding is provided by the county council, Broughton Astley Parish Council, Trent Rivers Trust, and WWF’s partnership with Air Wick, which is helping to restore wildflower habitats in the UK.

Leicestershire County Council is one of the key partners in the project, led by the Trent Rivers Trust. The project aims to create wildflower-rich grassland sites and other habitats that will provide foraging, breeding, and hibernation sites for pollinators, including bees, butterflies and moths.

Trent Rivers Trust secured £250,000 of funding from WWF’s partnership with Air Wick for the project, with £46,700 of that cash being received by Leicestershire County Council for environmental works in three areas.

The other two projects which have received funding are:

  • The creation, enhancement and conservation of existing grassland and the restoration of neglected wildflower meadows across 4.7 hectares of Watermead Country Park to create species-rich environments. The project has invested in new mowing and baling equipment to help collect grass cuttings and provided hand tools and support for volunteers to manage the grassland even more sensitively for insects and other wildlife.
  • Working with its tenant farmers along the Soar catchment area near Quorn to produce a conservation grazing plan for land, including the restoration of wildflower meadows and grassland habitats.

The habitat enhancements are focused on an area which is important for agriculture and provides a vital habitat for bees and other pollinators. Revitalising and creating new insect habitats which can eventually join up to provide ‘bee corridors’ will allow insects to access more food and to be able to better move around for breeding purposes.

Bees, butterflies and other pollinators play a vital role in our ecosystem, and these precious grassland habitats we have in the county are essential to allow them to survive and thrive.

Protecting and improving these habitats to boost biodiversity and nature across Leicestershire is one of our top priorities, and this is another example of the work that we and our partners are doing to make Leicestershire a cleaner and greener place to live.


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