Since October 2018, St Nicks has been working with a group from the Blueberry Academy to improve the small woodland area near Millennium Bridge, thanks to funding from the City of York Council through their Forgotten Corners grant. The project will wind to an end this month but it has proven to be a huge success as the area has already changed notably for the better. We have thinned over-planted areas of trees through coppicing, allowing more sunlight to penetrate to ground level. We have planted and sown wildflowers in these areas, and have already seen snowdrops, winter aconites and wild garlic shoots popping up around the woodland. Hopefully more species will shoot up over the spring and summer.
This not only makes the site all the more beautiful but should attract more pollinators and other invertebrates as well. We’ve planted some understory tree species such as holly within the woodland to improve the habitat structure, which will provide cover for small mammals and somewhere for certain song birds to make their nests. While species like crows and thrushes love to nest in the tall trees, other species such as wrens and tits prefer to be a little lower to the ground.
We have also managed the scrub growth to ensure the bramble and blackthorn are still present but aren’t taking over! We have done weekly litter picks and engaged with dog walkers and other site users so that the community know the site is looked after. We have seen a marked improvement already in the amount of litter dropped in the area.
All in all, the project has been a huge success and we can definitely say that the site is better now than when we started, both in terms of management and biodiversity. Why not go and have a look for yourself the next time you’re near Millennium Bridge? We assure you, you won’t be disappointed. While in the area, check out the wildflower meadow by the bridge – our grassland management efforts there have just been awarded as the winner of Buzzing Hotspot by Buglife, which is a testament to the hard work of local volunteers.