In 2019 we are attempting to get a new wildlife mowing regime up and running in a number of park areas and road verges around Wanstead. The grass in these designated areas will be left to grow long and naturalise with wildflowers by mowing less frequently. The pilot project is a collaboration between Wild Wanstead, Redbridge Council and Vision RCL. It’s a new way of doing things for the contractors who cut the grass, so it’s a learning curve and we expect a few areas may get mown accidentally at first! But we hope the project marks the start of a different approach to making urban green spaces more inviting to wildlife. Longer term, we're working to secure funding for wildflower areas to be planted in Wanstead.
With huge losses in insect life and a third of wild bees and hoverflies in decline, everyone needs to play their part in creating a habitat where the ecosystem that we humans rely on can thrive – and that includes the council.
The aim of the project is to maximise the diversity of plants in the unmown areas to provide a habitat and food for insects and other invertebrates, themselves on the menu for creatures like birds, hedgehogs, frogs and toads. Changing the way land is managed has been shown to help address the declines in insect numbers, at least to some degree. For example, organic farms host 30% more species and 50% more individuals than their non-organic counterparts. In urban environments, Amsterdam has achieved a 45% increase in its bee population since 2000 with approaches including wildflower areas and banning use of pesticides on public land.
2019 wildlife mowing sites in Wanstead
Christchurch Green (three areas on the Wanstead Place side of the park)
George Green (under the trees and in the back triangle of the park)
Nutter Lane Field (strips along two edges)
Nelson Road / Rodney Road
St Mary’s Avenue (far ends)
The Drive (one section)