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Ideas Welcomed on How to Keep the Buzz in Totnes!

4 October 2022

Four volunteers use long-armed forks to distribute grasses at meadow

After a fruitful last twelve months, creating and enhancing meadow sites in and around Totnes, the Ten Meadows project enters its second year with an appeal to the public for suggestions for areas that could be improved to benefit wildflowers and insect pollinators.

Co-ordinated by local social enterprise ParkLife South West, and supported by the town, district and county councils, the Ten Meadows project aims to provide a network of at least ten wildflower sites in the Totnes area over a three-year period. 

The first year of the project included wildflower improvement projects at Longmarsh, the Arboretum, the cemetery and at Leechwell Garden. Other parks and greenspaces could also benefit from a different approach, by either sowing new wildflower and wild grass mixes, or by changing the management of the existing grassland area by cutting less frequently or at different times. 

Once a more common and colourful feature in our landscape, Britain has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s. Those that remain are often small and fragmented, so it is vitality important than they are protected, and new meadow areas created. This is the aim in Totnes.

ParkLife SW Director, Keith Rennells said: "Wildflower grassland can contain more than 150 different plants, providing food and shelter for an array of insects, from bees and beetles to grasshoppers and butterflies. These, in turn, support many small animals and birds. However, the loss of good wildlife habitat means it is more difficult for species to move around the landscape. Connecting old meadows to new habitats is a vital part of the work."

There are two ways people can get involved. Firstly, ParkLife South West is co-ordinating a series of community environmental volunteering projects through the autumn and winter months, with activities at Longmarsh, the Arboretum and in other green spaces in Totnes. 

Secondly, ParkLife is inviting suggestions from the community for meadow creation or enhancement projects in Totnes. Whilst they might not all come to fruition, it would be good to gather ideas from local people who use the parks and green spaces on a daily basis.

Cllr Tom Holway, South Hams District Council's Executive Member for Climate Change and Biodiversity, said:  "Many of the green spaces dotted around the town are owned and managed by the District Council, and we are supporting the Ten Meadows project as part of our commitment to the Council's Climate Change and Biodiversity Plan. 

"Creating these wildflower meadows in the urban environment provide clear benefits to wildlife, but also inject welcome colour and interest into our sites, and perhaps will encourage our residents to try creating their own flowery pockets at the garden scale."

If you would like to join a ParkLife volunteer project, or have ideas for new wildflower meadow areas, contact or via Facebook or Instagram @parklifesw

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