Milton Keynes Council is giving wildlife a helping hand by creating five new ‘wildlife havens’ that will attract biodiverse plants, insects, birds and other animals.
A haven in New Bradwell has been completed and this week, work begins at Saffron Gardens in Bletchley. Saffron Gardens are sandwiched between the Grand Union Canal and the River Ouzel. The site has a long history including as a site where crocuses were grown for their saffron in its earlier days. The gardens house medieval fishponds and have blocks of trees sitting amidst grassland with a circular path.
Havens will also be set up at Grafton Park in central Milton Keynes, Grange Farm, central open space, and Railway Walk from Wolverton into Newport Pagnell.
One of the Council’s priorities is to increase biodiversity around the borough as part of wider work to tackle climate change. Over 1,000 pollinating species such as bees and beetles are already benefiting from council work to increase wildflower verges and meadows, and plants such as Bee Orchids are beginning to make a local comeback. Wildflowers provide food – including pollen, shelter, and places to breed for insects, and the insects themselves then provide more plentiful food for creatures up the chain such as birds, bats, and amphibians. The council is also working to create new wildflower corridors along MK’s famous grid roads.
Cabinet Member for the Public Realm, Cllr Lauren Townsend planted shrubs, wildflower seeds and trees at Saffron Gardens. This garden is planned to become a much-used walkway into a new housing development, bringing new and existing residents together.
Cllr Townsend said, “Saffron Gardens is the perfect wildlife corridor. With small changes to enhance the space it will act as a catalyst to encourage biodiversity, which is another small step forward in our bigger work to tackle climate change.”