…blog by Claire Pumfrey, Buglife Conservation Officer, and Suzanne Burgess, Buglife Development Manager Scotland and Northern Ireland
Celebrate this year’s National Meadows Day by visiting some fantastic flower-rich grasslands in Scotland!
Buglife Scotland has worked with project partners, landowners and communities across Scotland to create and enhance habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. Most of these works have taken place within central Scotland but more recent projects cover areas of the Scottish Borders and along the Strathmore Valley in Perth & Kinross and Angus. Habitat enhancements have involved the sowing of native and diverse wildflower and grass seed mixes, the planting of bulbs and hedgerows, and the creation of bee banks. Through our projects we have enhanced over 90 hectares of habitat for pollinating insects to date. We have also provided additional support to landowners and community groups to encourage the creation of further habitat for pollinators, most of which has taken place within our B-Lines network
With so many sites enhanced, you will be spoilt for choice on grasslands to visit! Here are some sites for you to look for:
If you feel like a visit to Fife, several areas within Silver Sands in Aberdour were enhanced with the sowing of woodland seed mix and a coastal seed mix through the Fife’s Buzzing project.
Flower-rich grasslands might not be the first thing you think of when visiting Edinburgh but there are some lovely sites including a small grassland on Leamington Walk which was enhanced through our Central Scotland B-lines project.
West Lothian has a great offering of sites which were created through the West Lothian B-Lines project, including Almondvale Park in Livingston. If you’re visiting the ancient burgh of Linlithgow why not stop by Rosemount Park – a great spot to stop for a picnic whilst watching the bees buzz about.
A walk along the John Muir Way through Bo’ness may involve passing through Grangepans meadow. Previously amenity grassland cut throughout the year, this large grassland area, over 1 hectare in size, is home to a range of wildflowers and pollinators. You may even be lucky to see Kestrels hunting in the long grass!
We’ve worked closely with Falkirk Council to create flower-rich grasslands through several projects including Falkirk Pollinator Way, John Muir Pollinator Way and Central Scotland B-lines. Sites which are fantastic for spotting invertebrates include Princes Park, Summerfield Park, Camelon Public Park and Stirling Road Playing Fields.
Fallin Bing situated in Fallin just outside of Stirling, is highly recommended! This Brownfield site offers amazing views of the Ochil Hills and Stirling and provides a mosaic of habitats including species-rich grassland. Keep an eye out for Six-spot Burnet Moths (Zygaena filipendulae), Common Blue Butterflies (Polyommatus icarus) and bumblebees!
East Dunbartonshire Council are doing an amazing job managing parks and greenspaces for pollinating Insects. Several meadows have been established through our John Muir Pollinator Way and Central Scotland B-Lines projects, including Luggie Park in Kirkintilloch and Linden Lea greenspace in Milton of Campsie.
In Glasgow, Hogganfield Park, Linn Park and Kelvingrove Park all benefited through the Glasgow’s Buzzing project. Completed in 2014 this project enhanced 13 parks across the City of Glasgow and these areas and more are still being managed for insect pollinators and for the benefit of other wildlife.
Lanark Loch Pitch and Putt and Lanark Moor Country Park are just a couple of the sites where meadows were created through our Central Scotland B-lines project. These sites have a lot to offer to both people and pollinators. Why not combine your recreational activities with a bug hunt?
Perth & Kinross and Angus
Buglife’s Strathmore B-lines ‘People and Pollinators in Strathmore’ project is creating and enhancing up to 20 hectares of flower-rich habitat within the Strathmore valley. Some flower-rich grasslands worth exploring this National Meadows day include Langley Park Gardens near Montrose along with the verges along Montrose Cycle Path which is managed by Angus Council. The grassland verge around Gamesie playing field near Piggy Lane in Blairgowrie in Perth and Kinross also hosts some wonderful wildflowers which is supporting pollinating insects.
The Scottish Borders
Buglife’s Pollinators along the Tweed project started its delivery phase in November 2022. Working with Scottish Borders Council, landowners and communities along the River Tweed and Destination Tweed project area, the project aims to create and restore 40 hectares (100 acres) of wildflower-rich habitat across 50 sites.
Walking the Annandale Way or visiting Moffat? We’d certainly recommend a walk through the hay meadow at Corehead, a site managed by project partners Borders Forest Trust. Situated close to Moffat in the Southern Uplands, Corehead integrates the restoration of montane scrub, native woodland, wetland, heathland and hay meadow. The low-lying hay meadow is rich in the ‘meadow-maker’ Yellow Rattle and an abundance of wildflowers such as clovers, buttercups, Yarrow and Pignut. Pollinators Along the Tweed is working with Borders Forest Trust at Corehead to further enhance the botanical diversity of the hay meadow and train volunteers in monitoring the site’s pollinators. For further information about Corehead and visiting the site, please visit the Borders Forest Trust website.
To the mouth of the Tweed in Berwick-upon-Tweed, why not visit the flower-rich grassland in Coronation Park? Seeded and managed by Northumberland County Council and volunteers, the grassland is bursting with a diversity of wildflowers for pollinating insects in the heart of an urban area. On 23 August 2023, Buglife and the Natural History Society of Northumbria are running a ‘Meadow Life’ event at Coronation Park with Northumberland County Council and Friends of Castle Parks. Why not join us to explore the pollinator and plant life of the grasslands and get involved in PoMScheme Flower-Insect Timed Counts? For more information about the event and to book, please email [email protected].