Councillor starts first Ashby re-wilding programme as Blue Hearts appear on Lower Packington Road

By Graham Hill

17th Mar 2021 | Local News

Cllr Barbara Kneale alongside the Blue Heart on Lower Packington Road and the area to be used for re-wilding
Cllr Barbara Kneale alongside the Blue Heart on Lower Packington Road and the area to be used for re-wilding

The first steps towards having a series of re-wilding verges in Ashby has been taken in Lower Packington Road.

If you see two blue hearts on the grassy area opposite Ashby Ivanhoe Football Club, it is part of a nationwide scheme.

The Blue Campaign is a fast-growing community that supports the re-wilding of gardens and council land.

The campaign's blue heart is now recognised nationally as a symbol for re-wilding.

Ashby de la Zouch Town Councillor, Barbara Kneale, has joined the Leicestershire Parish Nature Network.

And this is their first re-wilding site - although she hopes there will be more in the town.

If a council wishes to create a wildflower verge, they must first submit a request to Leicestershire County Council.

If the proposed verge is deemed safe and meets all the criteria for the scheme, a wildflower verge agreement is drawn up between the designated Parish and the county council.

An introductory site meeting is arranged to determine whether the location is appropriate to be turned into a wildflower verge.

Usually, as part of this site visit, a Blue Heart Plaque and stake is installed on the same day, all part of the National Blue Re-Wildling Campaign.

As part of the scheme NatureSpot will set up a 'Wild Place' feature page online for the designated verges.

This will describe the project and list all the species (and images) recorded from the site.

This is a great way of showcasing the local project and is provided free.

Cllr Kneale says the Lower Packington Road verge will be allowed to grow wild for a year to see how it takes shape.

She told Ashby Nub News: "What they're doing is stopping mowing the land to allow natural flowerage to come through, it's not planting, it's about leaving it to re-wild.

"You leave it for a year and see what grows up. That's the idea

"This is the first one in Ashby, it's a countywide initiative. I went on the parish diversity network training, and we've since then developed something called the parishes and nature network.

"We're talking about climate change, biodiversity action, lots of different things.

"There'll be six meetings a year and it's a start. It's about making people a bit more aware. But we probably won't see what's growing through here for a year or so.

"I spotted the scheme on a newsletter that came around last year, and we had until October 31 to get an application in, and it was September.

"Normally I'd have gone out and asked people where they wanted it, but I thought this was a great area, we filled a form in and then we were on the programme.

"This is the first of many and if any member of the public would like an area like this, they just have to let us know at the town council.

"We can have as many as we want in Ashby, although there are stipulations.

"I did have some people respond to me, a lady who wanted to get schoolchildren more involved and if there are any local schools in Ashby who feel they would want to take part, I'm willing to listen, they just have to let us know."


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