Published on 5th March 2021
Town centre biodiversity is being boosted thanks to a new wildflower and orchard planting scheme in Cheltenham’s Winston Churchill Memorial Garden.
This forms part of the Habitat Cheltenham project, thanks to £7,753.50 match funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
The wildflower meadows, created with the support of Glorious Cotswold Grasslands - Cotswolds National Landscape, will give a welcome boost to wild life in the park and enhance local biodiversity. The meadows were seeded in late last autumn with a perennial and annual seed mixture sourced from within 20 miles of Cheltenham, with native flowers such as Oxeye daisy, Common knapweed, Bird's-foot trefoil, and Yellow rattle.
Work on the community orchard began this week with council officers supported by Gloucestershire Orchard Trust. A variety of local species have been chosen to give greater biodiversity, and include apples, plum and pear trees. As well as giving beautiful spring blossom in the near future, fruit trees support a wide range of insects, small mammals and birds.
Cllr Max Wilkinson, cabinet member for climate and communities at Cheltenham Borough Council, said: “Dealing with the climate emergency and looking after nature go hand in hand and this project will do exactly that.
“The work of local volunteers and the council to help create a new wildflower area and orchard will help animal life and pollinators, further improving a park that has been transformed in recent times.
“We’ve worked closely with the local park friends group and Cheltenham West End Partnership to ensure that we have the right design and scheme benefit people using the park as well as support wildlife.
“Both the wild flower areas and orchard will help improve air quality and contribute to the borough-wide 2030 carbon neutral goal while boosting nature too – we’ll be doing more like this.
“I would like to say a big thank you to ERDF, Gloucestershire Orchard Trust and Glorious Cotswold Grasslands-Cotswolds National Landscape for helping to make this happen.”
The borough council declared a climate emergency in 2020 and has an ambitious target of becoming a carbon neutral town by 2030. Tree planting will form one strand of work. For more information on the council’s climate emergency work, visit the council’s website: www.cheltenham.gov.uk/climate-emergency and for more information about trees in Cheltenham, visit the trees webpages.
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Note: Image used is an artist's impression of how the commuity orchard will look once established.