Restoring native wild flowers and encouraging biodiversity along some grass verges in Surrey is planned as part of Surrey County Council’s climate change initiatives. The Bookhams Residents’ Association is working with SCC to make this happen sympathetically in our area.
Whilst most of our residential verges will still be mowed, the aim is to allow wild flowers to bloom and set seed on some wide verges, encouraging a diversity of butterflies and insect pollinators.
A swathe along the road edge and alongside footpaths will be mowed regularly to maintain sight lines and safety whilst in the wild flower areas one full width cut in the autumn will prevent woody shrub growth and neaten the area.
These wild flower areas will be marked with Blue Hearts. The Blue Heart scheme followed the State of Nature Report 2014 which highlighted the dramatic decline in biodiversity across the UK. PlantLife and the Blue Heart campaign promotes the rewilding of gardens, parks and road verges, allowing areas to be left to grow through the summer.
The Blue Heart symbol will communicate to neighbours and passers by that rewilding is in progress (and that it is not just the owner or council being lazy). The hearts will be made locally using recycled materials.
The areas chosen initially will be along the A246 and the Lower Road. The scheme could be widened to other areas in Bookham, thus aiding the creation of wildlife corridors. We already have some lovely wild flowers in these verges, from primroses and buttercups to cowslips, cow parsley, orchids and many more. Insects pollinate the majority of the food we eat; this will give them a helping hand and give us beautiful swathes of colour in spring and summer. I think we have all appreciated the beauty of our roadsides and countryside during this lockdown spring!
The butterfly we think is a small copper.
Photos: Frances Fancourt and Steve Poole.