From grassland to meadow - A nature recovery success story

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and staff from British Gypsum have been collaborating for many years but work over the past 12 months will really support nature’s recovery thanks to the transformation of a barren grassland area in to a wildflower meadow adjacent to the charity’s Bunny Old Wood.

A staggering 97% of species rich meadows have been lost since 1930s and last year, British Gypsum joined Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust in the fight to restore the UK’s dwindling wildflower habitat. The company has worked with the Trust to transform a field next to Bunny Old Wood, close to British Gypsum’s head office at East Leake. The creation of the 3.3-acre wildflower meadow is an exciting contribution to the establishment of a Nature Recovery Network for Nottinghamshire, by allowing the area to regenerate and attract wildflower species.

A Nature Recovery Network is a connected system of places important for wild plants and animals. It allows plants, animals, seeds, nutrients and water to move from place to place and enables the natural world to adapt to change. It provides plants and animals with places to live, feed and breed. It can only do this effectively if, like our road network, it is treated as a joined-up whole.

Wildflower Meadow by Jacqui Grafton

Meadows are a brilliant habitat, supporting eight times more wildlife than mown grass. Rich in wildflowers, it will attract pollinators and other insects and act as a natural buffer to protect the ancient woodland habitat of Bunny Old Wood. It will also provide food for birds and amphibians residing in the wood such as the natural hedges the British Gypsum Distribution Team helped to build – learning the ancient skill of hedge laying in the process. The wildflower seeds will also be a beneficial food source for the small mammals such as mice and voles that reside in the hedges and woodland. The Trust and British Gypsum are hopeful for a fruitful 2020 spring and summer season.

Senior estates and minerals planner Jennifer Saunders stated, “The site is reaping the benefits and we were really pleased to see there were lots of species appearing already in our meadow at Bunny Wood last year– some of which may have been lying dormant for up to 20 years!  These include meadow vetchling, agrimone, ox-eye daisies and common spotted orchids.  Much more than just pretty flowers, meadows are unrivalled havens for wildlife, and we look forward to seeing what appears this year too as the species develop and we hope they can establish further afield in the network in the future.” Jennifer continued, “All of us have a role to play and we are delighted we can get involved on a local landscape scale close to our place of work.  Volunteering activity complements our corporate sponsorship which we are pleased to announced we have just renewed for another year,”

Ruth Grice with Jennifer Saunders of British Gypsum, certificate presentation

Ruth Grice of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust said: “We need to create a Nature Recovery Network that extends into every part of our towns, cities and countryside, bringing wildlife and the benefits of a healthy natural world into every part of life. Letting flowers bloom along road verges, installing green roofs across city skylines, planting more street trees to give people shady walks in the summer and encouraging whole communities to garden for wild plants and animals can all play a part.”

Ruth continued, “We hope that by working with British Gypsum, it not only provides a start for a meadow recovery network in Nottinghamshire but also inspires the staff to get involved at home too as studies have shown the benefits of living and working close to nature.”

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and British Gypsum have plans for further engagement in 2020 to enhance habitat restoration at Bunny Old Wood and to inspire others to do the same with advisory reports detailing current levels of biodiversity. These will then go on to provide advice for future improvements and monitor how well the site is improving for wildlife. They look forward to further activities with staff including bat walks and conservation volunteering days. All involved are looking forward to seeing the improvements and to be able to enjoy the wildlife and habitats with the local community as well.

For more information about Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trusts Business Partnerships go online nottinghamshirewildlife.org/support-us/business-partnerships or ask for Ruth on  0115 958 8242.