Orchids discovered as city council biodiversity plan blossoms

Worcester is looking blooming beautiful this summer – thanks to biodiversity-boosting measures taken by the City Council.

The council's policy of planting wildflowers and leaving some areas to nature itself is paying dividends – and has resulted in what is believed to be a first for the city – several southern marsh orchids.

Around a dozen of the plants have appeared in Trotshill Field, one of several sites that the City Council has managed as traditional hay meadows for the last three years.

In the meadows, the grass is cut and the cuttings removed in summer and late autumn – reducing the fertility of the ground and thus allowing native wildflowers to flourish. Ninety seven percent of similar hay meadows have been lost since WWII.

Councillor Karen Lewing, vice chair of the Environment Committee, said: "We've had such a lot of positive feedback about how pretty Worcester is this summer – but of course, it's not just about that – our colourful displays of wildflowers are also providing the ideal habitat for a whole variety of insects and wildlife.

"We're absolutely delighted to see southern marsh orchids in one of our meadows and we're excited to see what other rare or unusual species will return to the city in the coming years."

Paul Snookes, who chairs Worcester Environmental Group, said: "I'm delighted to see how rapidly these hay meadows are flourishing with many native wildflowers magically appearing for the first time in decades, right here in Worcester."

"This will result in more butterflies, bees, birds, bats and other bugs for example. We have plans to create many more such invaluable habitats along the Wild About Worcester Way, a 12-mile wildlife corridor that will be launched next spring."

In 2020 the city council declared a biodiversity emergency, recognising that action needs to be taken immediately to stop the decline of native species. This year has seen even more roadside verges in Worcester filled with a host of native wildflowers.

The council is working alongside Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, Worcester Environmental Group, Severn Rivers Trust and the RSPB.

Find out more about the City Council's plans to boost biodiversity.

Find out more about Wild About Worcester 

A southern marsh orchid found growing in Worcester.
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