Nature’s gone on growing while Lambeth’s Parks Team has mown grass in Lambeth’s green areas much less frequently– allowing plants to grow, flower and self-seed.
Word from the Cabinet
Cllr Sonia Winifred, Cabinet Member for Equalities & Culture, said: “Our parks and open spaces have never been more important to our residents as we grapple with the coronavirus crisis. They are a wellbeing haven, and I’m delighted that they are flourishing so well this year. I’d encourage our residents to get along and enjoy them, while of course observing the two metre social distancing measures we are all following at this time.”
Friends of the woods
The Friends of Unigate Wood are one residents group who’ve seen amazing biodiversity blossom in their local community space. A new path into the woodland was put in this winter to replace the old, rather unsafe natural path. This was financed through money from the redevelopment of the Valley Road Unigate Dairy depot. It certainly makes a big difference to public access, but also shows what happens when you disturb ground to install a new path. A wildflower and grass seed bank in the soil broke through as soon as it got the opportunity. The Friends of Unigate Woods say they’ve never seen so many bees, butterflies and hoverflies over the flowers as this May.
Once it’s safe, a quick Parks survey will determine what species there are on site that we haven’t seen there before. Some plant seeds can remain dormant for decades before they’re reactivated. We may have species going back before Lambeth took over the woods in 2004 – possibly even back to when Curtis Brother’s Dairy’s own herd of cows grazed on this land.
Protecting the wild seeds
We won’t cut the meadow before giving ample time for plants to set seed and protect the seed bank. We would leave the main meadow area untouched with just a narrow cut along the edges to stop plants flopping over and obstructing the path.
Wildflowers and wildlife
What we’re seeing in Unigate Woods is happening across Lambeth with lower intensity grassland management. Keep an eye out for unexpected arrivals of wildflowers and other unusual plants, as well as birds, bees and butterflies – and take pictures – we’d love to know.