In a chance meeting with Councillor Will Hamilton by the shop halfway up Greys Road I learnt that the Town Council are planning to cut over a third of the area on the Greys Road embankment that was to be left for wildlife. This was disappointing as things like red clover are just starting to flower and cutting it now will deprive bees and other insects of a valuable source of nectar. I have long thought this would be a good area to manage for wildlife and people, so in February 2013, prompted by Malcolm Dodds, then chair of Henley-in-Transition, we put a proposal to the Town Council requesting that some of the bank be left uncut until the wildflowers had flowered and set seed. It is disheartening to find that over a third of the wildlife area is to be cut too early without any consultation, especially as this is the part where two of the three pyramidal orchids appeared, along with various other wild flowers. Also, bees which like warm sunny banks were seen using it over Easter.
Wildflowers have declined to such an extent in recent times that Plantlife has mounted a campaign to save nature on our road verges – see http://plantlife.love-wildflowers.org.uk/roadvergecampaign2016 . Plantlife is a British conservation charity working nationally and internationally to save threatened wild flowers, plants and fungi. Bees are also in serious decline. Hence, it is a great shame that a modest initiative to encourage wildflowers and bees in Henley is to be reduced in size. It would have been good to have been given a chance to negotiate changes to scheme so that this reduction could have been kept to a minimum. The practice of creating wildflower areas is now being widely adopted by many towns, villages and cities so Henley, by cutting our wildflowers, is running contrary to the present forward thinking. What a shame.
Henley Wildlife Group
We have asked Henley Town Council for a response about this. At the time of publishing we haven’t received a reply.