Project Sees Derby Road Station Carpeted in Wildflowers

Derby Road wildflowers June 2021
The wildflower patch at Derby Road station June 2021

A partnership between the local community and train operator Greater Anglia has turned a large area of land at Derby Road rail station into a carpet of wildflowers helping to support wildlife.

Last September volunteer station adopters worked with the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership, Greater Anglia, Ipswich Friends of the Earth and Ipswich Wildlife Rangers to plant 21 native wildflower species including poppy, cornflower and corn cockle, as well as many perennials, in a large area at the station entrance.

Volunteers prepare to sow wildflower seeds at Derby Road station
Volunteers prepare to sow wildflower seeds at Derby Road station 26 September 2020

In the past few weeks the area has undergone a transformation with wildflowers blooming in abundance, providing a refuge for wildlife and a food source for pollinating insects.

A lectern has also been installed to let passengers know all about the project.

The new lectern explaining the project

Claire Kendall, one of the volunteers, said, “It was tough work preparing and sowing the area, but very enjoyable to work together on this. And seeing the results has made it all worthwhile. We are over the moon with how it looks and delighted that it will make a real difference to our fragile wildlife populations. We are really hoping that the new area will even attract East Anglia’s own local and endangered stag beetles to visit.”

Emma Black, of Ipswich Friends of the Earth, commented: “We were really pleased to be involved in this pollinator patch project. It was great to work in partnership with everyone and we look forward to developing the area for wildlife with the local station adopters.”

Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, Alan Neville, said: “Wildlife friendly projects at stations like this are helping the railway in East Anglia to lead the green revolution by being a much greener way to travel – and our new fleet of trains will contribute even more thanks to their more environmentally friendly features which reduce CO2 and particulate emissions in the region further still.”

“We are very grateful to everyone involved in this project and delighted with the transformation which is sure to delight passengers.”

This project is just one of several across the Greater Anglia network where the train company is working with its station adoption volunteers to make rail stations more wildlife friendly – with the railway increasingly being recognised by ecologists as a ‘green corridor’ which provides a sanctuary for many different kinds of flora and fauna. More than 6400 square metres of garden space will be tended to this year alone – equal to five Olympic-sized swimming pools.

In a recent survey, the station adopters reported a wide range of creatures visiting their stations including many different types of butterflies as well as bees, slow worms, bats, foxes, hedgehogs, deer and many varieties of birds.

Grater Anglia has also pledged its 56 station gardens and wild areas, including the new wildflower patch at Derby Road station, to WildEast – a nature recovery movement which aims to return 20% of the land in East Anglia back to nature by 2050 – and has signed up to the Department for Transport’s Sustainable Stations Pledge.