Lambeth: Best wildflower bloom for years

13 May 2020

Written by: Lambeth Leisure Parks Team

Environment - Focus on Streatham - News and announcements

Lambeth’s Parks Team had to leave the grass growing this spring – and people report seeing more wildflowers and wildlife than ever.


Main post content

Lambeth: Best wildflower bloom for years

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

new path to Unigate Woods

New path built Dec 2019

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.

Long-lost wildflowers

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

Trees at Unigate Woods

Trees at Unigate Woods

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.