Wildflowers in Peel Park
As part of its Biodiversity: Every Garden Counts initiative, the Parish Council hopes to create more wildlife-friendly spaces on their own land, including Peel Park, just off Keeds Lane.
Early in 2022, an area was ear-marked for the creation of two wild flower banks stretching from the small pond towards Fenns Lane.
On behalf of the Parish Council, the LANCE Trust co-ordinated the project. Work to prepare the site took place towards the end of March when an experienced contractor prepared the site ready for sowing over a few days at the start of April.
Several groups of Brownies, local volunteers and trustees took part in this campaign to give nature a helping hand within Long Ashton.
The seed mix chosen is suitable for the clay soils found in Peel Park and contains 18 species of wild flower including lesser knapweed and ox-eye daisies as well as the wonderful, sweet-smelling vernal grass that will, hopefully, evoke memories of long-lost hayfields amongst those lucky enough to remember them.
In May, a pollen count was carried out for Plantlife to see what the banks were providing for bees and other insects. Bearing in mind this was the first year, the results were startling with a count of 30 daisies, 6 common mouse ear and 20 mouse ear hawkweed in just one square metre. If this was replicated across the banks, it would support 500 hour-long foraging flights for an adult bumblebee or 2 entire bumblebee colonies for a day. The total pollen could support 321 mining bee brood cells/larvae or 32 bumblebee larvae.
The bank may take four to five years to establish, but every year we should see a positive change that will help moths, bees and butterflies find their feet as well as providing a feast for our own eyes.