Bare patch of land at Derby Road rail station is teeming with wildflowers thanks to community rail partnership

Published on: Tuesday, 22 June 2021
Last updated: Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Community turns patch of land into a wildlife haven at Derby Rd Station
Flowers growing in previosly unused land

A partnership between local people and the railway has seen a large area of land at Derby Road rail station transformed into a ‘pollinator patch’ to support wildlife.

Last year, volunteer station adopters worked with the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership, Greater Anglia, Ipswich Friends of the Earth and Ipswich Wildlife Rangers to plant 21 native wildflower species such as poppy, cornflower and corn cockle, as well as many perennials in the large area next to the road at the entrance to the station.

As a result, it has undergone a stunning transformation with wildflowers in abundance, providing a refuge for wildlife and a food source for pollinating insects.

A lectern has also been installed to let passengers know all about the wildflower project.

Claire Kendall, one of the volunteers, said, "It was tough work preparing and sowing the area, but very enjoyable to work together on this. And seeing the results has made it all worthwhile. We are over the moon with how it looks and delighted that it will make a real difference to our fragile wildlife populations.

"We are really hoping that the new area will even attract East Anglia’s own local and endangered stag beetles to visit."

Emma Black, of Ipswich Friends of the Earth, commented: "We were really pleased to be involved in this pollinator patch project. It was great to work in partnership with everyone and we look forward to developing the area for wildlife with the local station adopters."

Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, Alan Neville, said: "Wildlife friendly projects at stations like this are helping the railway in East Anglia to lead the green revolution by being a much greener way to travel - and our new fleet of trains will contribute even more thanks to their more environmentally friendly features which reduce CO2 and particulate emissions in the region further still."

"We are very grateful to everyone involved in this project and delighted with the transformation which is sure to delight passengers."

Across Greater Anglia’s network the operator is working with its station adoption volunteers to make rail stations more wildlife friendly – with the railway increasingly being recognised by ecologists as a ‘green corridor’ which provides a sanctuary for many different kinds of flora and fauna.

It has also pledged its 56 station gardens to WildEast – a nature recovery movement which aims to return 20% of the land in East Anglia back to nature by 2050 – and has signed up to the Department for Transport’s Sustainable Stations Pledge.

Many station adopters have planted gardens which provide habitats for local wildlife as well as making the stations more welcoming. In total over 6400 square metres of gardens will be tended to this year – the equivalent of five Olympic sized swimming pools.

In a recent survey, the station adopters reported a wide range of creatures visiting their stations including many different types of butterflies as well as bees, slow worms, bats, foxes, hedgehogs, deer and many varieties of birds.