STROUD Town Council is bringing a bit of the wild side back to the community’s green spaces.

The Green Spaces team has turned a small patch of grass verge outside Clare Court in Bisley Old Road into a haven for wildlife.

Instead of mowing it, the team has laid some 'wildflower turf' to create a mini wildflower meadow to encourage native insects.

It is the first of several areas around the town which the team plans to 'rewild' as part of the growing national BLUE campaign. Its logo is a blue heart, made of recycled materials. The aim of the campaign is to create wildlife friendly habitats.

“Like many towns, Stroud has a number of small patches of grass verge that are generally mown maybe a dozen times per year,” said Mike Dando, Green Spaces manager for the town council.

“Whilst this can look very ‘tidy’ it is costly in both labour to cut, the use of fossil fuel-powered machinery, and creates a space that is of little value for wildlife.”

The Green Spaces team worked with Gloucestershire County Council to add posts to remove the car parking, and then laid the turf.

The mini wildflower meadow will be helpful for the insects such as bees, hover flies and butterflies that use the plants either for nectar, egg laying or as a food source for their caterpillar or larval stages.

“As well as providing a ‘niche’ for our native insects, it will add another ‘stepping stone’ for insects to move around the town,” said Mike.

“The more stepping stones we have the more we aid insects including pollinators, so vital for our own future.

"In turn, insects also provide food for other species, particularly birds, so by creating a small patch of beneficial habitat, we are helping provide food and shelter for a myriad of species from tiny to much larger.

“If more areas were improved in this way, we could achieve great benefits for wildlife whilst enhancing our town and reducing costs and emissions.”

The team have already reduced the size of the regular-cutting areas at Park Gardens, The Leazes playing field, Wallbridge and Uplands playing field, where there are now numerous orchids and other wildflowers.