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Greening up Gloucester Road

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Posted: Friday 13th May 2016 by WildBlog

The ‘My Wild City’ team have been at it again. This this time we teamed up with the business community of Gloucester Road Central. Our mission, to create an urban pollinator corridor on this busy road in Bristol. Mission impossible? We didn’t think so and we’ve proved it!

Funded by a combination of Neighbourhood Partnership grants and My Wild City project funding, the offer of personalised pollinator planters was given to 55 businesses running from the Egerton Rd junction all the way up to Nevil Rd, an area locally known as Gloucester Road Central. Thirty businesses ranging from café’s, boutiques, hardware stores, solicitors to food shops. Even the local butcher got involved.

Over the course of a week in early May, 50 new planters were installed requiring 1000 pieces of wood, 22 tonnes of supersoil (compost-topsoil mix) and over 450 nectar-rich plants, flowering shrubs and small trees. Planting plans were drawn up by wildlife garden experts at Earth Timber Stone who took into account the urban context of the project to include appropriately hardy species were chosen which can survive the additional pollution and disturbance by people.

More than half the plants included were native wildflowers including bird’s foot trefoil, ivy leaved toadflax, wild strawberry, selfheal, bugle, red campion and meadow cranesbill. Herbs such as sage, thyme, mint and rosemary commonly featured in many of the planters as they have a joint appeal to both people and wildlife. By attaching trellis we even managed to cater for native climbers including honeysuckle and clematis.

As well as members of the Avon Wildlife Trust staff, a series of dedicated volunteers gave up over 120 hours of their time to the cause. A doctor, an accountant and a waitress were amongst those who donned garden gloves over the 7 days. Even employees of the local businesses got involved with staff dropping by on their way home from a long shift.

The project was officially launched on the 7th May at the annual Gloucester Road Mayfest organised and hosted by Sarah Thorp at Room 212 who has recently built her own eco-house at the back of her shop including two green roofs.

The additional of so much greenery has vastly increased opportunities for pollinators along this 400m stretch of concreted grey. As well as helping the local wildlife, it’s hoped the project will make the shopping experience for all those visiting the area a little bit more ‘wild’ and create a buzzing hub for local traders and shoppers.

Plus, the project attracted the interest of BBC Spring Watch, and a filming crew joined the action for a day - so look out for Bristol’s Gloucester Road on the telly in June!

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Twitter - @avonwt #mywildcity

Matt Collis, My Wild City Officer

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