Last summer, we reported on plans to turn part of Charlton Park into a wildflower meadow. Things have come on in leaps and bounds since then, and now it’s your chance to find out more and have your say. The plans focus on disused football pitches at the Cemetery Lane end of the park (not the ones currently in use), and are being paid for by money from Greenwich Council’s ward budget scheme.
According to the Friends of Charlton Park:
Homes for Hedgehogs would turn the disused football pitches into an ecological hub with wild natural grasses, a central pond feature and mown walkways, which park users could use to walk dogs or simply marvel at the increased biodiversity – a 2016 report by Natural England argues that connecting with nature can help to reduce levels of anxiety, stress and depression. Creating such an area of wild planting would help to replace crucial lost habitat and in turn attract create suitable habitats for birds and small mammals, including hedgehogs, helping ecosystems to recover and promoting biodiversity.
Annie Keys, the Friends group’s chair, says: “This is a once in a generation chance to have a major impact as local people on our local park. It would be great to for our children to play alongside and just get used to seeing field mice, birds of prey and solitary bees in real life, not just in pages of children’s books or when they go on a day trip. Let’s grab the chance to make the sounds of hedgehogs snuffling a real part of our daily lives. It’s great that our three local councillors have backed this project and are helping to make it happen.”
Joe Beale, from the Greenwich Wildlife Advisory Group, adds: “This corner of Charlton Park, previously just closely mown lawn, will soon act as an important link in the ecological chain from Woolwich Common to Charlton Cemetery’s conservation area and Maryon/Maryon Wilson Parks, allowing wildlife to move between these places. Our wildlife is being lost and this is our chance to help ensure future generations can experience the colours and sounds of all sorts of beautiful creatures – from butterflies and moths, to hoverflies and hedgehogs – in their local park.”
The people behind the scheme will be at The Old Cottage Cafe in Charlton Park on Saturday 11 January from 4pm to 5pm to outline their ideas and hear what you have to say. There are more details, and a contact address if you can’t make it, on the Friends website.
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