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180623 zigzag insects (1)

For day 23 of #30DaysWild, as it’s National Insect Week, I went seeking insects along one my local trails, the zigzag path that runs from upper Penarth down to the marina. This was once a heavily wooded hillside but now has a concrete path that gives pedestrians and cyclists easy access up and down the steep hill. Of course, people sometimes want a more direct route and you can see that the frequent stomping of feet has worn alternate paths down the hillside.

180623 zigzag path

Though it looks quite grassy in this photo from a couple of weeks ago, the hillside is now a mass of self-sown native wildflowers and today it was alive with insects, from bees and hoverflies to butterflies, beetles and damselflies. This is a perfect site for wildflowers to grow – it is steep so difficult and presumably expensive to mow, and its steepness means it can’t be safely used by children playing (though, with a covering of snow, it is perfect for sledging!).

Though the local council usually strim this slope to death, utterly destroying the wildflowers and the wildlife, they have recently – and rather ironically – ploughed up a small flat area and dumped upon it soil seeded with wildflowers. That might sound hopeful, a positive action, but the ploughed area has not been maintained and, though I may be wrong, I doubt whether the wildflowers were locally sourced. I wonder too why the council would go to the expense of ploughing up perfectly good local wildflowers to plant others – do they think wildflowers should only be of the type they prescribe and only grow within a prescribed rectangular area? Surely they misunderstand the very essence of WILDflowers.

This blog post, then, is partly a celebration of the amazing variety of insects that enjoy the wildflowers that grow naturally around the zigzag path and partly a plea to the council not to kill those wildflowers and their pollinators but instead to celebrate and foster this wonderfully biodiverse area of Penarth.