Green fields highlighted by sunrays through heavy clouds from Curbar Edge

Planting wildflowers is helping nature and boosting well-being in Hartington

Wednesday 27 July 2022

Hartington children spreading wildflower seedHartington residents have installed planters filled with long-lasting, bee-friendly plants and created seven wildlife areas with support from the Peak District National Park Authority.

The voluntary work has been done through the Hartington Wildflower Project, an offshoot of Hartington Community Group.

Hartington Wildflower Project has benefitted from a Community Small Grant of £500, from the Peak District National Park Authority, and matched funding of £500 from Hartington Parish Council.

Clare Wilkins, community policy planner for the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “We were happy to support this project with a small grant to help bring people together to care for and enhance the National Park for wildlife, and to enjoy the health and well-being benefits that getting close to nature brings.”

Residents have worked together with the Parish Council, Hartington primary school, local businesses and many other local people to give nature a boost, including at the school and in the churchyard.

Phillip Neal from Hartington Wildflower Project says the increase in wildflowers has encouraged more pollinators. He said: “It is noticeable that we are seeing more insects at all the sites – especially bees and butterflies. Where wildflowers lead, wildlife follows.

“We have treated each site individually and either let the existing seed bank grow without being disturbed, or seeded native wildflowers to suit, including harebell, meadow cranesbill, herb robert, fox and cubs, cow parsley, red campion and oxeye daisy.”

The wildflower group formed in 2020, and despite the pandemic’s challenges, work got underway in 2021, and the enthusiasm has continued in 2022.

Phillip explained: “Recent times have shown us that Nature needs us more than ever, and we need Nature too, so we formed an initiative that would enable residents of the village to care for the environment and help support wildlife, but also bring people together and boost our mental and physical health and well-being.”

This summer, the group has developed a place for wildlife at Hartington Youth Hostel, as well as continuing to look after their existing wildflower sites.

The group has also worked closely with Derbyshire Dales District Council who have agreed to leave areas unmown for wildlife to thrive around their car park.

Engaging people’s continuing interest is an important part of the group’s ethos for benefiting well-being and beating the isolation that living in a rural area can bring.

Phillip said: “We have a core team of volunteers who look after specific sites throughout the year, as well as running events to get people involved.

“Engagement and support from Hartington primary school has also been excellent, which is really important in getting the younger generation involved. And local artists have created paintings that we have been able to install at the wildflower sites.”

The group aims to develop more wildflower sites; is encouraging residents to create wildlife-friendly areas in their gardens; has plans to create an online wildflower trail; and is sharing experiences with other local communities.

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