At East Devon we are striving to improve biodiversity and environmental sustainability across all of our greenspaces. This means we are using information on historical, ecological, environmental and human use to inform our green space strategies across the area.
Our wildlife improvement aims are to:
- Reduce human intervention in ecological processes
- Allow and enable wildlife to thrive (with an emphasis on insects)
- Plant trees to capture and store carbon
- Provide beautiful recreational spaces
We will do this using the following strategies:
- Reduce the frequency, area and deck height when cutting grass
- Establish ecologically appropriate plants across our green spaces to help wildlife
- Transition away from carpet bedding towards more herbaceous and woody perennial plantings
- Plant trees and hedgerows
- Establish wildflower meadows
- Create wetland areas
- Install bird and bat boxes & bee and bug homes across our area
We hear the term ‘biodiversity’ a lot these days but how many of us truly understand its definition and the consequences of not doing everything we can to help it?
Biodiversity is the variety of species, habitats and ecosystems that support life – ours! It underpins the air we breathe and the food we eat. We depend on biodiversity for protection against pollution, flooding, climate breakdown and a lot more. The areas we are rewilding provide much-needed habitats for insects, especially those facing extinction, and have the many advantages that biodiversity brings. Let’s face it, without biodiversity, human life is threatened.
So, now we are fully aware of its importance to us all, what are we doing about biodiversity losses that scientists estimate will lead to the extinction of 1 million species within our lifetime if we do not act now?
Glyphosate was banned across the Council in 2022 to further protect our environment. Our ecologist will continue to monitor increases in biodiversity levels and, consequently, pollinators’ numbers and diversity across the district. Reports will be published in due course to evidence trends.
Let it grow!
Keep an eye out for our bright yellow bee signs located within wildlife improvement areas. These signs communicate to residents and visitors that a deliberate act of wildlife improvement is in process to raise biodiversity levels; rather than the area being left out of neglect or because the land owner has forgotten to mow it.
What can I do to help?
Firstly, your understanding of what we are doing as a Council, why we are doing it and its local, regional and global importance will help to set expectations of what is required to counter the consequences of a century or more of everybody keeping their lawns unnaturally short.
Secondly, you can decide which sections of your lawn/garden, no matter how small, you want to let grow wild. The average closely-mown lawn will consist of several species of grass (e.g. annual meadow grass, Yorkshire fog, couch grass, and maybe one or two others) and several species of annual and perennial wildflowers (e.g. daisy, yarrow, clover, buttercup, dandelion and quite a few more, depending on whether you have used weed killer in the past). So, if you decide not to mow your lawn – or sections of your lawn – from the spring, those wildflowers and grasses will finally be allowed to grow, flower and seed – which will help biodiversity! It may take a few years for you to achieve the right balance between flowers and grasses, and you may want to sow a wildflower mix to increase your biodiversity, but that’s essentially it. If you want to create a wildflower garden from scratch, you can learn how to here.
Please use the following hashtag #EDDCparks on Twitter to find out more about our rewilding.
East Devon’s Diverse Insects and Animals
We recognise that we are fortunate to have a diverse range of insects and birds across East Devon. Here are some that you can expect to see now, which we hope continue to survive and flourish:
- Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi)
- Green Veined White (Pieris napi)
- Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
- Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata)
- Sandy Long-horn (Nematopogon schwarziellus)
- Privet Hawk-moth (Sphinix ligustri)
- Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus)
- Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
- Grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
The range of insects and birds – which feed on insects – are increasing across East Devon, which is thanks to so many residents’ amazing efforts to leave areas wild, however small. If this is not you yet, we hope it will be soon.
List of Wildlife Improvement Areas:
- Tyrell Mead (designated areas with signage)
- Sidmouth Cemetery
- Peak Hill
- Byes Meadow (Top & Bowl Area)
- Peak Drive
- Manor Road Car Park
- Knapp Pond
- Arcot Road Bank
- Delderfield (managed by EDDC Countryside)
- Lymebourne Park
- Salters Meadow
- Stowford Rise
- A3502, bank by Waitrose bus stop
- Furzehill, Sidbury - green space behind residences
- Furzehill, Sidbury - bank on Chapel Street
- Capper Close, Newton Poppleford
- Salterton Road
- Phear Park
- Donkeys Field, off of Foxholes
- The Crescent, Littleham
- Brixington Playing Field
- St Johns Playing Field
- Jubilee Drive verge (opposite Vansittart Drive)
- Parry's Farm Close
- Imperial Recreation Ground
- Queens Drive Car Park renaturing area
- Carter Avenue
- Corner of Valley Way and Dinan Way
- Corner of Rivermead Avenue and Exeter Road
- Shakespeare Way (near pylon)
- Betjeman Drive
- Byron Way (near to Lovering Close)
- Fraser Road
- Nasmith Close
- Normandy Close
- Corner of Bradham Lane and Moorfield Road
- Marley Road verge
- Rodney Close
- St Malo Close
- Knappe Cross
- Path eastwards from Brixington Community Church
- Corner of Colleton Way and Green Close
- Jarvis Close large green space
- The footpath between Birchwood Road and Winston Road
- The Green
- Jubilee field
- Granary Lane
- Little Common, Halse Hill
- Bank along Wynards Road
Bank along Brookfield Road
Woodbury and Aylesbeare
- Woodbury Church
- Scotchmead Paddock, Aylesbeare
Clyst St Lawrence
- Bank in Clyst St Lawrence
- The Glen
- Old Elm Road
- St Micheals Churchyard
- Battishorne Way/Weatherill Road verges
- Junction of Millhead Rd and Ernsborough Gardens
- Dove Close
- The Gissage (various sites)
- East Devon Business Park
- Littletown Green
- Orchard Way roadside verges
- The Triangle at the end of Chestnut Way
- 3-12 Whitebridges
- Upland Chase play area
- Upland Chase large green space
- Heron Road green space
Ottery St Mary
- Land of Canaan Car Park
- Thorne Farm Way
- Winters Lane playing field
- Washbrook View
- Corner of Yonder Street and Slade Road
- Millcroft roadside
Seaton and Beer
- St Gregory's Churchyard, Seaton
- Traceys Field, Seaton
- Roman Way, Seaton
- Seaton Cemetery
- Round Orchard, Seaton (near to Seaton Primary School)
- Jurassic Car Park, Seaton (new woodland areas)
- West Underleys, Seaton (roadside verge)
- Underleys, Seaton (behind the bus stop)
- Clapps Lane Churchyard, Beer
Axminster, Chardstock and Musbury
- Prestor, Axminster (off Sector Lane)
- North Street play area bank, Axminster
- Goldsmiths Lane, All Saints, Axminster
- Cuckolds Pit, Chardstock
- Northfields, Musbury
Useful links about our pollinators to educate and help inspire behaviour change
RHS: Perfect for pollinators – Advice about which plants are best to attract and benefit pollinators.
Wild bee action pack – Learn about the bees visiting your garden and how to make them more welcome.
Bumblebee Conservation Trust: Bee kind – A tool to analyse how bee-friendly your garden is and to map out gardens across the country.
Bumblebee Conservation Trust: Managing your land for bees – Information about how you can manage your land in a bee-friendly way.
Campaign for the Farmed Environment – Pollinators – Advice about how to manage your farmland to benefit pollinators.
How to create a wildflower meadow – Blog from Natural England providing advice on how to set up and manage wildflower meadows.
Practical guide for farmers and land managers – Guides to creating and managing habitats for pollinators.
The solitary bees – A video to help promote the importance and awareness of solitary bees in the UK.
How To Attract More Bees To Your Garden (And Why It’s So Important) – A blog from a non-expert that is all about bees, their needs, their decline and how each of us can play a part in their recovery.
Devon Local Nature Partnerships – Information from DLNP on a variety of Devon environments and its wildlife