Friends of Eastville Park: Helping nature to thrive in the park

July 09 2022
Friends of Eastville Park: Helping nature to thrive in the park

By Martyn Cordey, Friends of Eastville Park Nature Sub-group

EASTVILLE Park is a wonderful green space to enjoy at any time of the year, but especially more so during the warm summer months. It is a space where local residents and visitors can share the beautiful surroundings alongside nature.

Friends of Eastville Park Nature Sub-group was established a few years ago to share ideas and visions to help nature continue to thrive in the park.

Early focal points for the group were the Redhill Drive and Everest Road fields, which provide valuable habitats for butterflies, insects and other creatures. The group liaised with the council to introduce a rotational cutting regime there, ensuring that the whole habitat is not cut completely at any one time, enabling our wonderful creatures to complete their life cycles.

Although there may be occasions when some areas look 'untidy', with long grasses, rest assured that this is not neglect but part of a management plan. Nature doesn't do 'tidy' very much…it’s not in its nature!

But one thing we can be sure of is that without nature, the park wouldn’t exist, and neither would us humans. The group conducted a survey to find out what local residents and visitors thought of the new mowing regime and received mainly very positive feedback.

In 2020, Bristol City Council declared an ecological emergency and we set a commitment to do our bit to help out. Before the winter, the group, supported by volunteers and local families, sowed yellow rattle seeds in Redhill Drive field. These flowers parasitise coarse grasses, so that they do not grow so vigorously, allowing more wildflowers to become established. Another outcome is that the fields will eventually not need to be mowed so frequently, which will reduce carbon footprint, energy and noise pollution. 

When you visit either field, keep an eye out for the yellow rattle flowers (pictured above) – when they develop seed heads, you’ll be able to hear them rattle!

Earlier this year, members of the group were supported by local families and students in making further enhancements to both fields, planting wildflower plugs chosen specifically to help butterflies and caterpillars.

We are now working towards having information panels installed in the fields, explaining how and why they are being managed for nature. They will also provide information on species of wildflowers and butterflies that can be seen in these valuable habitats, and may even inspire people to set aside a little space in their own gardens for nature. 

Both fields have succeeded in enabling nature to thrive, while still allowing enough space for local residents and visitors to enjoy the environment, too. 

If you are interested in joining FoEP Nature Sub group activities, please email epnaturegroup@gmail.com.

All are welcome - no specialist knowledge is required.