Butterfly bank creates city centre haven for wildlife

A new 'butterfly bank' planted with 1,000 downland plants has been created in the heart of Brighton.

Brighton's butterfly bank. Image: Supplied
Brighton's butterfly bank. Image: Supplied

Measuring about 12 metres long, and created from six tonnes of chalk, the bank will provide a haven for butterflies, bees, hoverflies and other pollinating insects. It is made up of a low bank of undulating chalk mounds – resembling a miniature version of the downland surrounding Brighton & Hove.

Plants from around 20 wild flower species have been planted into the bank, which is in Brighthelm Gardens off Queen's Road. They include ox-eye daisy, harebell, wild marjoram, wild basil, common toadflax, small scabious, lesser knapweed, bird's foot trefoil, dropwort, chamomile, betony, wild carrot, and kidney vetch.

All the plants were grown at Brighton & Hove City Council's nursery at Stanmer Park from seed collected from chalk grasslands around the city. The Brighthelm Trust will tend the butterfly bank, cutting and composting vegetation at the end of each year.

The council's parks team joined forces with the Brighthelm Trust's gardening group and youth ranger volunteers from the Sussex Wildlife Trust to create the feature, as part of the Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere programme's objective to connect people and nature by improving urban green spaces to benefit both.

It is the latest in a series of 15 chalk butterfly banks of wild flowers created across the city by the council over the past three years.

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