Rewilding has come to Reading Town Centre as verges and roundabouts are laid with wildflower turf enhanced with flowering plants ahead of the spring, as part of our wider project to restore, reclaim and protect natural habitats across the borough.
We have teamed up with Reading Central Business Improvement (BID) who are funding the turf to the tune of nearly £12,000.
Late autumn/winter is the ideal time to lay wildflower turf, which should yield flowers in spring and summer 2022. The project covers verges in areas such as Queen's Road, Forbury Road and outside the railway station.
The turf laid around the town centre will include varieties of plants that will extend the flowering season and provide a bright backdrop to some otherwise inhospitable traffic corridors.
The experimental rewilding scheme - which introduced a new approach to grass cutting in selected locations across Reading during 2020 - has proved a great success and so popular with the public we have expanded it this year. Some of the best places to see this is along the Basingstoke Road, Portman Road and Lansdowne Road.
During 2021, as well as extending the rewilding scheme across new areas of the borough – including Wensley Road green, Cintra Avenue and parts of Milestone Way - we successfully extended rewilding across 12 parks, which has added 2 ha (5%) to the overall amount of conservation grass. Rewilding has caught on with residents too and this past year has seen community groups working with us in adopting areas such as Amity Alley in East Reading and Tweed Court in West Reading.
Our final cut-and-collect mowing across verges and parks is now complete, which is an important part of the rewilding cycle. When grass is strong, it competes out other species. For this reason, the Council currently cuts some sites three times during the growing season for a few years and removes the cuttings. In a few years’ time, it will be possible to reduce this to one autumn mowing.
A Rewilding review will be carried out at the end of the season and a summary report will go before the Council’s Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure Committee (HNLC) in March 2022.
Find out more at www.reading.gov.uk/rewilding