Council working to improve biodiversity in Banbury's parks and wildlife areas
Biodiversity initiatives in Spiceball Park are making the riverside a haven for wildlife.
A tree planting programme is creating new habitats and adding to the flora and fauna of the area.
Banbury Town Council’s ground maintenance contractors 4th Corner Landscaping are planting hazel and crab apple trees to provide food for birds and animals that live close the waterway.
Biodiversity is the variety of plant and animal life in a particular area and both tree types are established sources of quality food for insects, birds and mammals.
Hazel tree flowers turn to fruits that mature into nuts and become food for an assortment of wildlife. Squirrels, dormice, wood mice, bank voles, woodpeckers and nuthatches all eat hazelnuts.
Crab apple flowers provide early pollen and nectar for insects – particularly bees – and the fruit is eaten by birds, including blackbirds, thrushes and crows. Mice, voles, foxes and badgers also eat crab apples.
In the months ahead, 4th Corner will plant ferns and wild flowers between the trees to create new habitats for smaller animals such as voles, mice and hedgehogs.
Amanda Ransom, director of 4th Corner, said: “As a company we are committed to working practices that are sympathetic to the natural environment. Adding habitats and improving biodiversity as we work is a way of making genuine progress with environmental initiatives.”
Cllr Colin Clarke, chairman of the council’s general services committee, said: “Spiceball offers exciting opportunities to improve the biodiversity of the area. 4th Corner are creating new habitats and providing food and cover that will attract new wildlife.
“Work to improve the riverside in the park started in 2015 in a town council project with the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust.
“The work with BBOWT is continuing and has been extended to Hanwell Brook Wetland Area, Bridge Street Park and the Mineral Railway.”