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Why wildflower meadows are blooming marvellous for Sefton

With wildflower meadows in full bloom across the Borough, we’re celebrating their importance in boosting our biodiversity, tackling the climate emergency and bringing nature to people’s doorsteps.

Here’s a few examples from across the Borough of why wildflower meadows are so vital.

Wildflower meadow trail – LCR Community Environment Fund

Ten wildflower sites across the region, including in Sefton, have been transformed by local children and residents bringing colour and nature to urban communities.

They were created by the Head North for Beauty project with a £49,000 grant from the £500,000 Liverpool City Region Community Environment Fund, established by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.

They form part of a new wildflower meadow trail from Everton in North Liverpool, through to Litherland in Sefton. The sites were ploughed in April and schoolchildren from All Saints Catholic Primary School and local residents helped sow the new meadows.

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram with children from All Saints Catholic Primary School in Bootle at Gray Street/Peel Road site
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram with children from All Saints Catholic Primary School in Bootle at Gray Street/Peel Road site

The meadows are now being looked after by volunteer community wildflower rangers.

Social enterprise Regenerus, the organisation which brought the Anthony Gormley statues to Crosby Beach, has partnered with Scouse Flowerhouse, The National Wildflower Centre, the Eden Project three local housing associations, Liverpool City Council, Sefton Council and the local community to create the meadows which attract wildlife, including bees, and aid carbon capture.

Liverpool has the country’s highest number of council wards with wildflower meadows – which are increasingly appreciated for their biodiversity benefits. Yet 97% of UK wildflower meadows have been lost since 1947.

Lowering the carbon footprint is high on the list of priorities for the Metro Mayor and in Sefton the Council is on track to be net zero carbon by 2030 – a target which was set out in its Climate Emergency declaration in 2019.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “We have ambitious plans to tackle climate change in the city region, the climate emergency remains the biggest long-term challenge our region – and in fact the world – faces.

“We can all make a difference if we get together within our communities and each do our bit, whether that’s improving air quality with these beautiful wildflower meadows or leaving the car at home and walking or cycling to work. Our Community Environment Fund projects are promoting environmental issues at a grassroots level and deserve to be supported.”

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member for Regulatory and Corporate Services said: “We all have a role to play in protecting our planet, wildlife and each other from the effects of climate change and here in Sefton, supporting schemes like the wildflower trail is just one of the ways we are tackling this issue.

It’s fantastic to see our natural and urban landscapes being celebrated, and we’ll continue to work with our communities, asking them to stop and think about small changes they can make to keep our Borough clean, green and beautiful.”

Rimrose Wildflower Meadow expansion

In March 2021, Sefton Council supported Victoria ward councillors to expand the Rimrose Valley Country Park wildflower meadow scheme, which already covered a large area near to the running track.

Rimrose Valley Wildflower Meadow
Rimrose Valley Wildflower Meadow

The community project was originally launched in 2019 by the Friends of Rimrose Valley group and aimed to create Merseyside’s largest wildflower meadow.

It was made possible thanks to the Sefton Crowd – Sefton Council’s online crowdfunding platform. Over £4,600 was pledged to support the ‘Bees, Blooms & Butterflies’ project.

With additional funding sourced earlier this year, a further 1.5 hectares were sown in the spring across the area between Derwent road and Queensway, adjacent to the Queensway Allotments.

The area is now in flower and has resulted in a total of 2.5 hectares of meadow in the Rimrose area.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “It’s fantastic to see this project quite literally flourish into a stunning wildflower meadow, creating a long-lasting environmental legacy for the people of South Sefton and beyond.”

Plantlife’s ‘Every Flower Counts’

If you’ve been inspired by hearing about Sefton’s wildflower havens, you’ve got until this Sunday 18th July, to take part in Plantlife’s flower count.

Plantlife is a charity that works nationally and internationally to raise the profile of wildflowers, plants and fungi. It celebrates their beauty and carries out important work to protect their future.

To take part in the count, simply count the number of flowers in a square metre patch of lawn, submit to the Plantlife website and they’ll tell you how much nectar they’re producing and how many bees they’ll feed with your own Personal Nectar Score.

When it comes to providing vital nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies and other insects, every flower counts. The more wild flowers you have in your lawn the more nectar will be produced.

From your results, Plantlife will calculate a National Nectar Index to show how lawns across Britain are helping to feed pollinators. They’ll also reveal the top ten lawn flowers and show how to increase the number of flowers in your lawn.

Find out more on the Plantlife website: https://www.plantlife.org.uk/everyflowercounts/