GREEN Futures Newton Abbot has formed a partnership with Teignbridge District Council to manage part of an open space area on the Bradley Barton housing estate in Newton Abbot, called Kiln Orchard.

Local Green Futures volunteers will restore the area to become a wildflower meadow as part of its Bradley Bug Recovery Network to help boost pollinator populations in the area.

Ecologist Phil Samsun, from Devon Biodiversity Records Centre, has carried out a floral survey of the site and found 52 species of native flowering plant.

He said: ‘The survey shows a link back to the typical lowland Devon grassland which the rest of the area might have been like in the 1960s before the houses were built. There are plenty of wildflowers in here, we just need to manage it to benefit them.’

The key inhibitor of wildflowers is thick long grass. In order to give the native wildflowers a chance, the grass must be cut and the mowings taken away, because this reduces the nutrients for future growth.

Wildflower plants survive best in a low nutrient environment. Another key management tool is the introduction of the wildflower Yellow Rattle. Rattle feeds on the roots of grasses and so helps to reduce their dominance, making space for more wildflowers to flourish.

Volunteers from Green Futures are raking off the mowings at Kiln Orchard to prepare for sowing the ground with Yellow Rattle seed.

Now is the best time of year for wildflower sowing because the seeds need a winter in the ground before they germinate the following spring. Newton Abbot mayor, Cllr Carol Bunday, came to give the volunteers her support encouragement.

She said: ‘Its really great what they are doing. Our local wildlife needs all the help it can get and anything we can do to encourage more pollinators in Newton Abbot has got to be a good thing.’

New signage for the area has kindly been provided by Teignbridge contractors Idverde, telling local people what’s happening and encouraging them to get involved.

Andrew Rothery, Green Futures co-ordinator said: ‘Today is a big step in the journey to restore this area back to the wildflower meadow that it probably was over 50 years ago.

‘We want to thank Mark Payne, Teignbridge Green Spaces Manager for his support for this project, Devon Environment Foundation for enabling the ecological surveying to happen and all of our local Bradley volunteers who are putting their time in to help pollinators.’

► Green Futures is a community organisation based in Newton Abbot, dedicated to working with local people to improve people’s levels of wellbeing, grow the green economy and take care of the natural environment.

They are developing a range of projects and services for people from all parts of the community.

For more information go to www.greenfutures-