Volunteers work with Greater Anglia to turn Salhouse rail station into wildlife haven

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Salhouse station, Norfolk, is “alive with birds, bees and butterflies” thanks to the dedication of volunteers who planted wildflowers there this year.

Chris and Sally Dady, who have ‘adopted’ the station and have built their own eco-home on the site of the former station master’s house, have spent many years restoring the gardens there and started to tend to the planters on the platforms several years ago.

In the Spring they received wildflower seeds from train operator Greater Anglia, as part of the company’s aim to increase biodiversity at its rail stations through wildlife-friendly projects working with its team of adopters and Community Rail Partnerships across its network.

Colourful wildflowers at Salhouse station

Sally Dady commented: “Some work had been done at the station earlier this year and left some bare areas of earth, which we thought would suit some wildflower planting and we were really pleased with the result, which looked lovely and has further helped to support the wildlife we already have here.

“We even installed a pump in the old well in the garden to help keep the flowers watered and as a result the platform and our adjacent garden has been alive with birds, bees, butterflies, hoverflies, ladybirds, moths and all sorts of other insects who have come to enjoy the flowers.”

Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, Alan Neville, said: “Thanks to the care and attention of our team of station adopters, we have thousands upon thousands of plants thriving at our rail stations which helps not only to make them more welcoming, but are benefiting the environment too.

“Many of these gardens have been designed to be wildlife friendly, enhancing biodiversity and providing food, shelter and breeding places for many different types of wildlife.

“Some of them – like Salhouse - are becoming really magical places as a result, helping to support wildlife and benefiting their communities by helping to improve the local environment and existing more harmoniously with their rural surroundings.

Salhouse station platforms

“We are very grateful to Chris and Sally for the amazing work they’ve done.”

“This is all 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.”

Together, the train operator’s team of station adopters – who help to look after their rail stations for the benefit of their communities – are planting and caring for gardens at rail stations across the network which will provide habitats for local wildlife as well as making the stations more welcoming.

In total over 5700 square metres of gardens have been tended to this year – the equivalent of 29 tennis courts.

In addition, the volunteers planted over 200 planters for platforms at stations across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire this year.

The gardens, some of which have been developed over many years, are becoming havens for local wildlife populations – with the railway increasingly being recognised by ecologists as a ‘green corridor’ which provides a sanctuary for many different kinds of flora and fauna.