A wildflower meadow at Wynyard Woodland Country Park is blooming nearly two and a half years after work began to transform a disused piece of arable land.
The ten hectares at Pickard’s Meadow is now home to a vast array of different species of flowers and plants such as red clover, meadow buttercup and ox eye daisy, as well as pond life and other wildlife including meadow brown and tortoiseshell butterflies and birds such as skylark and lapwing.
Three stock ponds for grazing animals and an owl nesting box have also been created there.
Visitors can walk along a footpath through the meadow which is now in full flower.
It is the largest managed area of this type of habitat in the Tees Valley.
Stockton Council secured £31,500 from SITA Trust's ‘Enriching Nature’ programme to transform the area using a mix of meadow seed and hand-collected wildflower seeds from nearby sites, gathered by local volunteers.
Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor David Rose, said: “The wildflower meadow looks beautiful and is an excellent opportunity for residents and visitors to see a rare natural habitat. We are already seeing many benefits as the rich meadow is providing food like nectar, seeds and plants for insects, small mammals and birds. Through the creation of this new meadow we are supporting the survival of pollinating insects including bees and butterflies.
“It is one of several projects under the Borough’s Green Infrastructure Strategy, which aims to enhance the Borough’s biodiversity and provide high quality parks and green spaces for people to enjoy.”
The Council worked with The Wildflower Ark (specialists in the flora of the Lower Tees Valley) to prepare and monitor the site, as well as other organisations such as Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, Teesmouth Bird Club and the National Grid.
Pickard’s Meadow is open to members of the public. It is towards the northern end of Wynyard Woodland Park, just off the Castle Eden Walkway, which runs through the park. It is approximately 1 mile (1.5km) from the Country Park main car park near Thorpe Thewles, which is open from 8.30am until 9pm every day through the summer. It is also accessible from the car park off the A689. Castle Eden Walkway is also part of National Cycle Route 1.
The Council also manages many other large wildflower meadows which are in full bloom at the moment. The other sites include Billingham Beck Valley Country Park, Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park and Greenvale Local Nature Reserve.