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Moray Council to introduce more wildflower sites across Forres area


By Garry McCartney

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An existing wildflower site at the Croft Road roundabout.
An existing wildflower site at the Croft Road roundabout.

OVER the next three years, Moray Council aims to create up to eight new wildflower areas per year across the region.

And, following consultation with the local community, new sites in Forres will be finalised this month.

A local authority spokesperson said: “As we face many environmental challenges there is a need for us to broaden our approach to managing open spaces. Wildflowers help improve biodiversity, support health and wellbeing, and help wildlife including pollinators which have declined in numbers.”

Areas either side of Sanquhar pond have also been planted with wildflowers.
Areas either side of Sanquhar pond have also been planted with wildflowers.

Moray Council would like the community to consider open spaces currently maintained and nominate more locations for wildflowers. These could include green spaces where regular grass cutting is not really needed, or shrub beds that could be removed and replaced with wildflowers. The Lands and Parks team are reviewing nominated locations to choose the most suitable.

The spokesperson added: “Only seed mixes containing native wildflower species will be used at the sites. A three year programme to develop the most suitable will be prepared and we will contact communities interested in helping us create and care for them.”

Moray Council has received submissions from community groups including Forres Community Council, who nominated Mannachie Park, a local A96 roundabout, the burnside near the Mosset Tavern and Sanquhar pond.

FCC secretary Jo Lenihan said: “These were suggested to us by several residents as areas that would benefit. Many people suggested Moray Council working with Forres In Bloom on the sites.”

The Thomson Memorial, AKA The Needle, is another existing wildflower site.
The Thomson Memorial, AKA The Needle, is another existing wildflower site.

Trial sites at Bogton Road and Castlehill have been running since last year. More local sites have been identified where locals may be able to lead projects with council-supplied seed mix, including at Sanquhar Pond.

Brian McDonald of the Sanquhar Working Group believes anything that improves the habitat for insects and birds should be encouraged.

He said: “The visual impact of the wildflowers will also be a welcome feature that people will appreciate.”

The Lands and Parks team has committed to planting annual wildflowers at North Road and the Croft Road roundabout. A proposed 2021/22 planting programme also features perennial native wildflower planting at Mannachie Park, perennial native wildflower and/or a living lawn at Clovenside Cemetery, and community-led seed mix planting with a sustainable drainage scheme at the Mosset.

The council spokesperson said: “The sites are due to be finalised ahead of preparation work starting in October. We’ll be in touch to confirm where these will be and how communities can be involved.”



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