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.
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.