Changing Chalk – greening the cities

Bringing the wildflowers of the South Downs into Brighton and Hove through the creation of new areas of wildflower planting.

Honey bee on a light purple wild flower in close up

Image by Graeme Lyons

Greening the Cities will bring the wildflowers of the South Downs into the towns through the creation of new areas of wildflower planting in the city of Brighton and Hove using locally sourced and grown wildflowers. Not only will these new wildflower areas provide vital habitat stepping-stones in an urban environment for our local native pollinators and invertebrates, but they will also start a conversation with residents about our local environment and heritage by bringing the Downs to their doorsteps. This project is being led by The Living Coast, supported by Brighton & Beyond Wildflower Conservation Society and Brighton & Hove City Council.

We are thrilled to confirm that our National Lottery Heritage Fund bid has been successful.  This means we will now be able to start planning to deliver the project over the next 4 years, starting from Spring 2022.  This includes offering volunteering and training opportunities in wildflower growing techniques, wildflower site creation and management, and wildflower planting days.

Greening the Cities is part of a bigger project across the South Downs called Changing Chalk. Changing Chalk is a partnership of organisations working together for the future of the South Downs to reverse the decline of the fragile chalk grassland and connecting local communities to the nationally significant landscape on their doorstep. This project has been developed with the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

Purple wild Knapweed wildflowers in Brighton

Image credit: Brighton Wildflower Conservation Society

Project objectives

  1. To create new areas of urban wildflower planting to benefit pollinators and people.
  2. To support more local people to experience and understand our local wildflowers and chalk downland through training and volunteering opportunities.
  3. To celebrate our local environment, history and spaces and share the deep cultural history of the Downs.

What’s been achieved?

  • Greening the Cities project did an ecological survey of existing bee and butterfly banks in Brighton & Hove to inform the development of any new banks in the future.
  • This survey found an incredible 554 species of insects (including over 50 types of bee!) and 191 species of plants on the 19 banks in the city, including 58 species of insects that are considered rare or under threat (conservation status).
  • This shows how beneficial creating areas of wildflowers for pollinators in an urban environment can be – why not try this if you have a garden of your own?

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