A project to boost native trees, flowers and wildlife in an accessible green space area in the Oxfordshire village of Benson, has been blooming with the help of a £3,500 grant from Grundon Waste Management.
Two community tree planting events held last autumn and in spring this year (before lockdown) saw local families come together to plant more than 500 trees, while wildflower seeds were sown to create a flower-rich meadow, helping to improve biodiversity at Warwick Spinney.
And since then, the Spinney has been promoted as a great place for families to enjoy the countryside during lockdown; including the Benson Brownies, who have had fun with activities such as treasure hunts while unable to hold their usual meetings.
Leading the project has been Benson Nature Group, which says the funding has enabled them to improve the shelter belt of trees and the boundary hedge, as well as enhancing grassland management to ensure there will be more wildflowers in the meadow in years to come.
The Group applied for a grant from environmental charity the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE) and Grundon, whose headquarters are based at Benson, provided the money through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF).
Toni Robinson, Grundon’s head of compliance, explains: “Supporting local communities is very important to us and that’s especially true in this case. I visited the site prior to funding being approved and was amazed how close it was to our offices, it is really hidden away. It was evident that with some active management that the biodiversity value of the site would be greatly improved and we were delighted to provide funding.”
Grundon works closely with TOE to support projects which help to improve biodiversity and access to the countryside, and Toni says the team can’t wait to see first-hand how the planting continues to develop in years to come.
Rachel Sanderson, Operations Manager at TOE, said: “The team at the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment feel this grass roots project is a great example of what a motivated group of local people can do to secure nature’s recovery on their doorstep and improve their local green space. Their enthusiasm to improve the species richness here is an inspiration to us all.”
Edel McGurk from the Benson Nature Group, added: “Getting TOE and Grundon’s funding for this project has made the most enormous difference to the site and our group’s ability to involve the community in the practical side of making green spaces better for wildlife. We’re really excited to have made some solid progress and are looking forward to the next stages of connecting this site better to the rest of Benson’s green network.”
Benson Nature Group, which was set up in 2000, focuses on improving, monitoring and conserving habitats, landscape and wildlife through the parish and encouraging as many people as possible to enjoy the local countryside.