July 19, 2024

Grass populated meadows are playing a large part in protecting and improving Denbighshire’s biodiversity.

Denbighshire County Council has 129 designated areas of wildflower meadows to help protect and support native plants and insects. These include highway verges, footpath edges, cycleways and amenity grasslands.

Including county roadside nature reserves, there is just over 70 acres of meadows helping local nature survive and thrive in the face of climate change.

As well as the wildflowers found across the meadows, the grass species on the sites also play an important role in helping boost our local biodiversity.

Butterflies including mainly the Browns and a few of the Skippers species have a taste for native grasses, their caterpillars will feed in areas such as the meadows the Council biodiversity team manages.

Also found at the wildflower sites across Denbighshire are gatekeeper, orange tip, meadow brown, speckled wood, comma, red admiral, green veined white, common blue and small blue.

Some of the sites where butterflies have been recorded include: Pen-Y-Maes (Ruthin), Dalar Wen (Denbigh), ATS Roundabout (Denbigh), Bastion Road Crazy Golf (Prestatyn), Rhyl Rugby Club Walkway (Rhyl), Llys Brenig Park (Rhyl), Coronation Gardens (Rhyl),Llindir Street (Henllan), Ffordd Y Graig (Denbigh), Plas Lorna (Rhuddlan), North Wales Bowls Centre (Prestatyn), Ffordd Penrhywylfa (Prestatyn) and Marine Lake (Rhyl)

The biodiversity team has also recorded cinnabar and 6-spot burnet moths while surveying county meadows.

Staff work to keep Rygrass off the meadows as this will out compete any wildflowers or native grass found on the meadows impacting on biodiversity. These rye grasses grow vigorously in high nutrient soils and prevent the slower native wildflower, and grass species from becoming established.

The butterflies can be found at our sites from late March through to late Autumn.

Cllr Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We do get asked why grass is on our meadows as well as wildflowers and it is there to play its own important role in protecting and improving our biodiversity, especially when it comes to our insect population.

“On our established wildflower meadows during the summer, you can see a lot of butterflies all over the area and that’s down to having the right native grasses growing alongside wildflowers we are working to protect.

“I would encourage residents to visit local wildflower meadows in their area during the summer to experience the support these areas are providing for nature first hand. Local sites are marked by our Bee Friendly signage.”

All wildflower sites are managed in line with Plantlife’s Managing Grassland Road Verges guidelines which sees grass cutting at sites prohibited between March and August each year, giving wildflowers enough time to grow, flower, and set seed.

The site is then cut after August and cuttings collected to reduce soil fertility and provide the wildflowers with the best conditions possible for future seasons.

This project has been funded by Welsh Government, through the Local Nature Partnerships Cymru ENRaW project.