National charity Butterfly Conservation has praised the work of Wyre Forest District Council’s Ranger Service for the work they have undertaken to transform a former golf course and landfill site on the edge of Stourport into a haven for butterflies and moths. A recent survey undertaken by the West Midlands branch of Butterfly Conservation found that the site now supports a huge diversity of wild flowers, many of which are rich in nectar required by butterflies and other pollinating insects and provide opportunities for butterflies to breed.
Common Blue, Small Copper and Brown Argus butterflies were all found during the survey which are species that indicate good quality grassland and have disappeared from many parts of Worcestershire as a result of intensive agriculture and insensitive management. The survey which started last year also found a rare moth called the Six-belted Clearwing which is known from just a handful of sites in the entire county.
Mike Williams, Publicity Officer for West Midlands Butterfly Conservation, who undertook the survey said: “It is really impressive what the Ranger Service has achieved at Burlish Meadows in such a short space of time. The Meadows now contain an amazing mixture of flowers and are bursting with insect life. The new car park on Kingsway means that it is very easy to access and makes a delightful walk. Open spaces such as this are the jewels in the crown of Wyre Forest District Council and have been a haven for many people throughout the Covid pandemic contributing massively to our sanity and sense of wellbeing. It is so important that these sites are valued and well looked after.”
An important feature of the site is a long south-facing butterfly bank and West Midlands Butterfly Conservation are hoping to work with Wyre Forest District Council to improve the site still further for butterflies and moths and to help enhance the enjoyment of visitors through the provision of interpretative material.
Councillor Graham Ballinger, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Community Safety said: “We are really proud of our ranger team and volunteers who have worked so hard to transform the former Burlish Park golf course into a haven for wildlife. It is a testament to them to receive such high-praise from the Butterfly Conservation charity.
“Creating an environment where wildlife can flourish is a key element of the Burlish Top project. Over the past two years, our rangers have introduced a butterfly bank, planted 18,000 trees and created two wildlife pools. Visiting the site has also been made easier with a new free car park opening in April 2021.
“For more information on the reserve, woods and meadows please visit – www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/burlishtop.”
Burlish Meadows is one of 14 local nature reserves owned and managed by Wyre Forest District Council most of which are open to the public. Next month sees the start of Butterfly Conservation’s annual Big Butterfly Count and the charity hopes that people will want to join in by visiting some of these wonderful reserves in order to count butterflies. For further details go to https://bigbutterflycount.butterfly-conservation.org/.