We’ve picked up a number of projects around Hexham by listening to the concerns of local residents and their desire to see more wildlife-friendly management of their open spaces.
In Priestlands we are working with members of the Priestlands Residents Association to consider how to introduce more wildflowers and wildlife into the recreation ground – Priestlands Park. So far we have worked with Northumberland County Council to let an area of grass grow during the summer as a meadow. We have been watching to see what comes up, and plan to plant more wildflowers in these areas in the autumn. Further work will be subject to consultation with residents this summer.
At the Highford Estate, where there is a wonderful open area where the grass and wildflowers have been allowed to grow unchecked for over a decade, we are taking a slightly different approach. Here the danger to wildflower diversity comes from the lack of any management at all – eventually the more delicate wildflowers like bird’s foot trefoil and northern marsh orchid will succumb to the dominance of coarser grasses and hogweed and eventually scrub and trees. Whilst trees, and especially scrub, are very important to wildlife, we have seen the need for some grassland management here to retain a diversity of habitats, including wildflowers. Accordingly we have persuaded the Council to cut the long grass areas in a 4 year rotation and to remove the hay cut. We put these proposals to residents at a recent open day attending by more than 80 people, and received a unanimous vote of approval for these and other minor management proposals. The results of this consultation and our responses to your comments are published in the document below.