Last summer, The Parks Foundation alongside BCP Council was awarded £224,000 funding from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund to deliver a Nature Recovery project in selected parks.
The parks chosen as part of this project include Branksome Recreation Ground, Haskells Recreation Ground, Jumpers Common, Kinson Manor Playing Fields, Muscliff Park, Pelhams Park and Slades Farm.
Plans have now been developed for these parks, which all aim to create wildlife-rich sites, increase habitat and biodiversity, engage communities, and enhance the appearance of the selected parks.
Councillor Mark Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Place, commented: "I am continually astonished by the magnificent wildlife in our local region as I explore our parks and open spaces, from the swifts in the air to the orchids on the heath. Not only is being outside and connecting with nature known to improve our health and wellbeing, it also allows us to explore and discover the wonders in our local area, which is why I’m encouraging all our residents to fill in this survey. “We want to find out how everyone currently connects with each park and what they think of our proposed plans, and of course let us know what they would like to see in the parks. This knowledge will enable us to enhance and shape the future of these seven parks to benefit the whole community, as well as increase the biodiversity in each park."
The draft plans include a wildlife pond garden at Kinson Manor Playing Fields, creating a small oasis of nature in a green desert; and an orchard of fruit and nut trees at Slades Farm with the blossom providing a vital source of pollen.
The Nature Recovery project builds on the Pilot Parks initiative that is being delivered in Winton Recreation Ground, Bournemouth; Waterman’s Park, Christchurch; and Alexandra Park, Poole. There are also biodiversity improvements being planned for Strouden Park, Bournemouth.
The Parks Foundation’s Nature Recovery Project Manager, Stephen Concar, commented: “This project is progressing well, and we’re delighted to share the plans with BCP residents. We aim to improve the parks for people and wildlife, and we’re eager to hear the thoughts of local communities. It’s so important to protect and enhance all our green spaces, including trying new ideas such as green roofs which are a beacon for bees and butterflies in the future, and I’m excited to create similar environments in urban parks for all to enjoy and appreciate.”
As well as improving the biodiversity of each park, Parks Activators are hosting a variety of activities every month to engage residents including nature crafts, making bird, bat, hedgehog and bee homes, sowing wildflower meadows and planting trees and hedgerows.
This month there is a focus on insects and mini beasts, with the opportunity to get involved in citizen science surveys and volunteer groups to help enhance the parks.
To view the plans, take part in the survey - which runs until 1 September 2022 - and find out more about the Nature Recovery Project, visit the Parks Foundation webpage.