Wildflower Survey Blooms Success at York Greenways

York Greenways is a committed group that cares for the traffic-free green corridors in and around York, including Selby. Their volunteers work hard to maintain safe access along local paths and encourage biodiversity by combatting invasive species and creating habitats. Their goal is to get more residents and visitors to explore and enjoy these natural routes and the surrounding countryside.

Wanting to make social change

Thanks to a generous £1,941 grant from the Small Grants Fund, York Greenways has embarked on an exciting project. They are conducting four seasonal wildflower surveys along the Solar System Greenway, a 9.1-mile trail that follows the old East Coast Main Line route diverted by the Selby Coalfield in 1985. This greenway, recognised as a Site of Interest for Nature Conservation (SINC), is crucial for species migrating due to climate change.

Doubling wildflower diversity

This funding enabled York Greenways to employ two final-year Biology students from the University of York as interns. These interns have already identified 44 wildflower species, an increase from the 22 species that were identified in a 1987 survey. This growth reflects the positive impact of their efforts in habitat creation, invasive species control, and the planting of native spaces in reclaimed areas.

This project is not only repeating the surveys but has also extended it to other species, creating a thorough record that will act as a benchmark to measure the future impact of climate change. Community involvement has been essential to York Greenway, with volunteers from local firms and students from York College helping clear vegetation and create wildflower banks at key locations along the greenway.

Sustaining the project

To ensure lasting benefits of this project, York Greenways has partnered with York’s St Nicholas Fields Resource Centre, integrating the route into their ‘Urban Green Corridor’. Additional wildflower seeding and the clearance of invasive species are taking place along the greenway.

The outcome of these surveys will highlight the variety of species on the greenway and raise awareness about local nature. The hope is that the increased awareness strengthens the community’s commitment to combatting climate change and conserving these local greenways.

Peter Huxford, Chair of York Greenways shared with us:

“Thanks to the support from the Small Grants Fund, we’ve seen tremendous success with the recent wildlife survey, identifying 44 wildflower species, up from 22. This project has significantly boosted community engagement and awareness, highlighting the impact of our efforts on local biodiversity and the strong community commitment to preserving our greenways.”

Give your support

This project showcases the power that donations can have on our local community and the wider environment. Enjoy this greenway yourself and find out more by visiting yorkgreenways.org.uk.

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