Welcoming wildlife, encouraging the regeneration of native wildflowers and providing attractive outdoor spaces close to home is at the heart of a biodiversity pilot project underway in Montrose, Angus. Montrose Space for Nature will see grass cut less frequently and tended to in a way that encourages wildflowers and fine grasses to grow at three sites across the town. It is hoped that this in turn will improve local biodiversity and attract bees, butterflies and other invertebrates. 

Loss of UK Wildflowers

Since the Second World War more than 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost to the UK. The loss of these habitats has resulted in the decline in many of our pollinating insects. Space for Nature seeks to tip the scales in the other directionThe Space for Nature pilot project will run for three years in the first instance and will hopefully be well-received by the Montrose community. The project can also be extend to other Angus towns and villages. 

Links to active travel

At a time when it’s reported that people are walking and cycling in ever-greater numbers, it is timely that the project will compliment local active travel routes. In Montrose, the project focuses upon a 2km stretch of cycle track running parallel to Montrose Golf Links the Old Kirk Yard; and  large roundabout on the approach into the town. As well as changing grass cutting regimes to give nature a chance, the project hopes to lend it a helping hand courtesy of local expert native wildflower seed producers Scotia Seeds who are kindly donating seeds and plants. 

Space for Nature in Montrose

Scotia Seeds will also fund information panels that will provide in-situ details about the pilot project. As part of this Angus Council and the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership are encouraging local people (of any and all ages) to send in drawings of local wildlife and wildflowers. A number of them will be selected for use on the information panels to help illustrate the project and shared through the council’s social media pages. 

Cllr Beth Whiteside, Angus Council’s Meadow and Pollinator Champion, said:

“Our overall aim is to get our communities and nature closer together – town as well as country. By changing our ecological approach and specifically our grass cutting and grass collection regime, we can increase opportunities for nature. 

“When established, people will see common wildflowers on urban grasslands when they are out and about in their local area. These wildflowers support insects such as common butterflies and bumblebees. 

“Angus Council manages 40,000 square metres (just under ten acres) worth of sites as species-rich wildflower meadows.  Where possible, we seek to restore grassland to wildflower diversity and allow new meadows to be created, with nature leading the way.” 

Angus Council has reduced the overall quantity of chemicals applied in parks and other open spaces as efforts to deliver the Pollinator Strategy for Scotland, greenspace policy. The Council’s development plan also recognises the contribution green networks make to quality of life, health and well-being and the opportunities offered for biodiversity and habitat enhancement. This policy aims to protect and enhance the ecological functionality and connectivity of existing green networks and enhance green networks through new development.  

If you would like to know more about the project please contact [email protected]