Nature for health, a fascinating article in County Voice 2019: Issue 3

We are delighted to be featured in the Denbighshire County Council County Voice publication as One of the nature for health projects in our county.

You can read it by following this link: https://countyvoice.denbighshire.gov.uk/english/county-voice-2019-issue-3/countryside-services/the-nature-for-health-project

You can also read about us making dormouse boxes here: https://countyvoice.denbighshire.gov.uk/english/county-voice-2019-issue-3/countryside-services/a-helping-hand-to-create-new-homes-for-dormice

Since our projects inception we have been very focussed upon the health benefits of volunteering in an outdoor environment.

Nature for health Activities 24 Jan 2019

We have always worked with Healthy Prestatyn and many people have been referred in to this and other projects that we are involved with in Prestatyn.

Video featuring our nature for health activities.

Alongside our community activities with Grow Wild we reach a cross section of our population locally through both nature and creative activities. All at no or very low cost to the participant.

Who to contact about nature for health.

Please contact claudia.smith@denbighshire.gov.uk / 01824 708313 for Rhyl and Prestatyn.

Or ellie.wainwright@denbighshire.gov.uk or call 07918224784 for more information on how to get involved with the Nature for Health project in Llangollen and Corwen.

Exciting BBC Britain in Bloom 2019

Morfa Gateway project featured as part of the BBC Britain in Bloom episode in Prestatyn.

We are very pleased the BBC selected us as One of the Three projects in our home town.

You can also watch the programme on YouTube.

Filming was carried out during the summer of 2018. At the project and across Prestatyn.

Filming at morfa gateway with Health and safety Exciting BBC Britain in Bloom 2019
BBC Britain in Bloom Presenter Chris Bavin with Prestatyn High School students.

We are so pleased that so many community groups and organisations were included.

The original concept was a joint effort by @NWPPrestatyn@healthyPrest, & @ArtisanWales supported by @DenbshireCside & @DCCHousing with support from the Greggs foundation.

Some of the hundreds of positive comments we have received.

“Just been watching the Britain in Bloom. What a fantastic job you all did to achieve so much in such a short time frame. Well done to each and everyone of you involved. — celebrating this special day.

Inspirational well done all of you.

Once again local people doing the work well done to these people who are making the town look good.

You should all be SO proud. Fantastic result.

Fabulous programme so glad I live in Prestatyn.

They did so well so lucky to live here.

Fabulous programme makes me proud to live here.

Well done volunteers, did Prestatyn proud.

It was fab!

It was a lovely programme.

Well done all of you keeping Prestatyn blooming good luck with your continued success.

Some people work their hearts out for Prestatyn. Salute.

Just watched it. Fabulous and well done everybody!”.

There has been hundreds of fantastic positive comments on social media.

Since the episode was filmed we are delighted that we have secured support for 2019 from Grow Wild.

Grow Wild is the national outreach initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Kew).

The programme takes Kew’s message outside the walls of our two botanic gardens, reaching new and different audiences.

Supported by the National Lottery Community Fund, and through private and public contributions.

Through Grow Wild, Kew is inspiring millions of people to grow as a group, get active, learn about and engage with nature, and give back through volunteering. All of which can improve health and wellbeing, as well as urban and unloved spaces across the UK.

Grow Wild plays an integral part of Kew’s strategic priorities helping to create and deliver an outstanding outreach proposition, which will help Kew achieve its vision of a world where plants and fungi are understood, valued and conserved – because our lives depend on them.

On Friday 17th May as part of the Prestatyn and Clwydian Range Walking Festival 2019 Maria Golightly – Wales Engagement Manager for Grow Wild will be leading a walk in the Coed Y Morfa area.

Maria Grow Wild Wales Walk

From Mass Media to Solitary Bees.

We have had a busy week preparing for introduction of habitats for Solitary bees. A nice guide here from Grow Wild.

One of our solitary bee hives
One of the Three different types of bee homes we are utilising on site.

As seen on BBC Springwatch April 2018.

Award Winning Solitary Bee Observation Nest Box from Nurturing Nature.
Award Winning Solitary Bee Observation Nest Box from Nurturing Nature. Installed by Denbighshire Countryside Service.

Project partners Denbighshire Countryside Service have installed a Solitary Bee Observation Nest Box alongside the gateway inside the community allotments in Prestatyn.

Designed for the health and safety of bees, easy to clean and manage, nesting units easily slide in and out of the nest box.

Each unit is hand assembled and hand painted, with a built-in cocoon emergence/storage unit, two removable shutters over two observation windows.

You can study the bees at work, explore and observe other aspects of their ecology. Then take the complete nesting unit indoors for research and viewing.

Ideal for researchers, schools, wildlife gardeners and nature reserves. They allow for ‘hands-on science’ lessons making it more enjoyable when teaching children about the life cycle of solitary bees without having to dress up and wear protection from stings! Albeit that can be fun!

The third type of solitary bee nest.
The Third type of solitary bee nest we are installing.

In the coming week we have another willow weaving session at The Old Library. These are proving to be so popular, we will be holding some more over the summer period.

Grow Wild At the Gateway.

We are delighted that the Morfa Gateway project is being supported during 2019 by Grow Wild.

This will enable us to bring lots of community activities and native wildflowers to our site in Prestatyn.

Including the popular walk with Maria from Grow Wild Wales. As part of the Prestatyn and Clwydian Range Walking Festival on Friday 17th May 2019.

Support from Grow Wild will also enable us to build upon our volunteer and social prescribing activities. Including the Nature For Health initiative.

You can view our community project page on the Grow Wild website here.

grow Wild
Maria from Grow Wild Wales and Reb at Coed Y Morfa

Why are wildflowers so special?

Wildflowers and wildflower-rich habitats support insects and other wildlife.

In the UK, we need a wide range of wildflowers to provide pollinators (bees and other insects that pollinate plants) with local food sources across the seasons – including times when crops aren’t producing flowers.

Many of our favourite fruits, vegetables and nuts rely on insect pollination. For example, in the UK strawberries, raspberries, cherries and apples need to be pollinated by insects to get a good crop.

Currently, the insects do this job for free! But if the UK doesn’t have a large enough insect population we may need to develop artificial pollination methods, which takes a lot of time and is expensive. 

As many gardeners know, insects and other animals can also help in the fight against crop pests (animals and insects that damage crops and plants). This means that farmers may have to rely even more heavily on pesticides if these ‘good’ animals and insects can’t help. 

Wildflowers also contribute to scientific and medical research. Some UK native wildflowers contain compounds which can be used in drugs to treat diseases. For example, foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) contain chemicals used to treat heart conditions. If we were to lose wildflower species, we could lose potential new medicines.

Just as importantly, perhaps, wildflowers are beautiful and provide us with habitats that buzz with life.

There are also strong cultural bonds that exist with recognisable species such as poppies, which remind us of lives lost in world wars, or of dandelions which may remind us of childhood summers.

About Grow Wild:

Grow Wild is the national outreach initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Kew). The programme takes Kew’s message outside the walls of our two botanic gardens, reaching new and different audiences. Supported by the National Lottery Community Fund, and through private and public contributions.

Through Grow Wild, Kew is inspiring millions of people to grow as a group, get active, learn about and engage with nature, and give back through volunteering. All of which can improve health and wellbeing, as well as urban and unloved spaces across the UK.

Grow Wild plays an integral part of Kew’s strategic priorities helping to create and deliver an outstanding outreach proposition, which will help Kew achieve its vision of a world where plants and fungi are understood, valued and conserved – because our lives depend on them.

Grow Wild brings thousands of people together each year to value and enjoy wildflowers and fungi. Supported by the National Lottery Community Fund, and through private and public contributions.

About the National Lottery Community Fund:

We are the largest community funder in the UK. We’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives.

At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive.

Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK wide charities. Enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

New hedgerow planted by volunteers in Coed y Morfa, Denbighshire

It is great seeing Steve and Pete in the Long Forest Project video.

Volunteers from Morfa Gateway and Denbighshire County Council’s Nature for Health programme took part in the hedgelaying at Coed y Morfa nature reserve

Source: New hedgerows planted by volunteers in Coed y Morfa, Denbighshire

Video and pictures from hedgerow and tree planting.

A selection of video and pictures from the final day of Long Forest Project hedgerow planting at Coed Y Morfa. Plus a new addition to the Gateway site.

Hedgerows form a vital part of our landscape and wildlife habitat, but they’re at risk from neglect, damage and removal. 

Keep Wales Tidy working in partnership with The Woodland Trust, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. Have developed the Long Forest Project. Together they will be delivering practical action- recruiting thousands of volunteers to plant 100,000 trees and improve around 120,000m of hedgerow in Wales.

Video from Steve Fenner.

Video from Anton’s Drone.

video

Picture from Tracy’s phone.

Long forest video and pictures
A huge thanks to everybody who organised and volunteered.

It has been fantastic being involved with so many different people. Volunteers from many community groups have been fantastic. A special thanks to Gwyl Roche, Keep Wales Tidy, Project Officer Conwy for all of his help and support. The team at DCC Countryside Service were ace as usual. Plus Tracy the driving force from Hedgehog Help Prestatyn thanks for the great ideas.

video and pictures og planting
Volunteers including members of the Prestatyn in Bloom Committee

The Denbighshire Housing and Health Board “Nature for Health” project is really great idea. We are really looking forward to a spring and summer full of community activities.

To celebrate the completion of the planting we also planted a wayfaring tree alongside the new gateway path.

video and pictures of wayfaring tree
Jim from DCC countryside Service
wayfaring tree
The wayfaring tree planted alongside the new path.

The Wayfaring Tree – Viburnum lantana

As its name suggests, the wayfaring-tree (Viburnum lantana) is a sign, if you aren’t already aware, that you are on or near a path.

It is more a shrub than tree that grows up to 15ft and almost exclusively on chalk or limestone.

Its white flowers have a scent that divides opinion, lily-scented to some, unpleasant to others. The fruit is longer than wide and turns from green to red then black.

Its twigs are both flexible and strong and have long been used as string and to tie bundles and bales.

It earned its name in 1597 when the herbalist Gerard noticed it on the routes between Wiltshire and London.

Wildflowers are so important to us.

We are so excited for our next stage of development. The Long Forest Wales hedgerow planting will be finished this week. So time to start focusing on our love of wildflowers.

It has been great working with Denbighshire Countryside Service Keep Wales Tidy – Cadwch Gymru’n Daclus and lots of other #Prestatyn #community groups and will continue to do so.

Plans include installing a wildflower meadow, filling the raised beds with sustainable planting. Also adding more pathways.

For ease of installation we will be utilising wildflower turf similar to that featured in the video below. Consisting of 34 species of British native wildflowers and grasses, all of them perennials.

Installing a meadow with Wildflowers

Allowing open habitats such as wildflower meadows in urban settings. For the provision of native or naturalised grasses, wildflowers and flowering plants offers several advantages:

  • Plant diversity attracts insects and other invertebrates (including butterflies, bees, spiders and millipedes), birds and mammals.
  • Flowering species add a changing palate of colour to the urban environment throughout the seasons.
  • Active involvement of the local community in managing the site encourages ownership values to be fostered. Activities may range from mowing to the collection of seeds for use at a new location or for sale.
  • Opportunities for education and recreation abound (ranging from nature studies to art lessons).
  • Even small plots of wildflower planting can change the feel of a setting. So that the creation of a wildflower meadow as part of an urban greenspace can bring a little piece of countryside into the town.

Why are wildflowers so special?

Wildflowers and wildflower-rich habitats support insects and other wildlife.

In the UK, we need a wide range of wildflowers to provide pollinators (bees and other insects that pollinate plants) with local food sources across the seasons. Including times when crops aren’t producing flowers.

Many of our favourite fruits, vegetables and nuts rely on insect pollination. For example, in the UK strawberries, raspberries, cherries and apples need to be pollinated by insects to get a good crop.

Currently, the insects do this job for free! But if the UK doesn’t have a large enough insect population we may need to develop artificial pollination methods. Which takes a lot of time and is expensive.

As many gardeners know, insects and other animals can also help in the fight against crop pests (animals and insects that damage crops and plants). This means that farmers may have to rely even more heavily on pesticides if these ‘good’ animals and insects can’t help. 

Wildflowers also contribute to scientific and medical research. Some UK native wildflowers contain compounds which can be used in drugs to treat diseases. For example, foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) contain chemicals used to treat heart conditions. If we were to lose wildflower species, we could lose potential new medicines.

Just as importantly, perhaps, wildflowers are beautiful and provide us with habitats that buzz with life.

There are also strong cultural bonds that exist with recognisable species such as poppies. Which remind us of lives lost in world wars. Or of dandelions which may remind us of childhood summers.

How do wildflowers help the environment?

wildflowers in a field

Wildflowers provide lots of things that insects need: food in the form of leaves, nectar and pollen, also shelter and places to breed. In return, insects pollinate the wildflowers. Enabling them to develop seeds and spread to grow in other places.

The insects themselves are eaten by birds, bats, amphibians, reptiles and small mammals, all of whom contribute to the cycle of life.

During winter when there is less food available, wildflower seeds can also be an important food source for birds and small mammals.

Wildflowers can also be really helpful to keep soil healthy. When wildflowers become established and spread their roots, they stabilise the surrounding soil.

This means that when there is a lot of rainfall, or irrigation in fields used to grow crops, soil particles and nutrients stored in the ground stick around and the soil stays healthy. This is especially important on hillsides. Where sloping ground is easily washed away if there aren’t root systems to hold the soil in place.

Without plants like wildflowers that stabilise the soil, nutrients can get washed away into nearby water systems. This causes a problem called ‘eutrophication’. Where algae spread and can make the water toxic to marine animals.

What is the difference between UK native wildflowers and other kinds of wildflowers?

A UK native wildflower species is one which is naturally found in the UK, rather than a species which has been introduced from somewhere else, usually by humans.

When the glaciers melted after the last ice age – around 10,000 years ago – these are the species that recolonised the land. However it can be difficult to determine whether a species is truly ‘native’.

Once a species has developed a self-sustaining population, that is once it can continue to grow and reproduce without help. It is considered ‘naturalised’.

Any species that was brought into the UK before 1500 AD (around the time Henry the Eighth became King of England). Has become naturalised is called an archaeophyte.

Any species naturalised after 1500 AD is called a neophyte. And any species that is non-naturalised, or ‘alien’ is called a casual species.

It’s not always obvious if a wildflower is native or non-native by looking at it. But by knowing the name of the species, it’s possible to look up its native distribution (the geographical area in which it is native).

poppy wildflowers

But what’s so great about native wild flowers?

Native wildflowers have grown and evolved for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years here in the climate and environment of the UK.

This means that they have evolved alongside other native wildlife and organisms, often benefiting each other.

For example, many native wildflowers have flower shapes, sizes, colours and the time when they bloom that are attractive to UK pollinators. Some insects, such as some bumblebee species, are very picky about where they get their food and need certain UK native wildflower species to survive.

Native wildflower species have also adapted to environmental conditions here in the UK, so they can be easier to care for than non-natives.

Community Engagement.

We are so pleased that we will be entering the RHS “Its your Neighbourhood” and will be included in the Prestatyn Wales in Bloom and Britain in Bloom entries. Also that the site will be featured on the BCC as part of Prestatyn’s 2018 entry.

Very soon we will be posting about some very exciting news that involves good friends of ours. Also what we will be doing together during 2019.

Interested in volunteering? Then look here.

Britain in Bloom 2019 finalists announced


Volunteers across the UK are gearing up to showcase their communities in the annual RHS UK Finals competition.

We think it is great that Prestatyn in Bloom is 1 of the 71 finalists and 1 of only 3 places in Wales.

We also feel good that the judging criteria has changed. Now it reflects the increasing importance of community involvement and environmental stewardship.

Therefore making projects like ours and a number of others in Prestatyn increasingly important.

This year’s top Bloomers hail from all corners of the UK, from the picturesque coastal village of Sark in Jersey.

To the urban heart of London, Canary Wharf and the Northern Irish city of Derry.

There are 71 entries in the UK Finals competition for 2019, which include seasoned entrants such as Harrogate, in Yorkshire.

Following a year’s rest for the group, and first-time entrants Bexhill on Sea, in Kent.

The coastal holiday town of Whitby will be hoping to impress judges with its new Alice in Wonderland-themed garden. Created in honour of the author Lewis Carroll who regularly stayed in the town.

Meanwhile Norwich in Bloom, which re-entered this year after a year off. Will be hoping that its microclimate and rich cultural heritage will help to create impressive displays in the City category.

Bloom awards Perth


2019 In Bloom marking criteria

The UK Finalist marking criteria has been updated for 2019 to reflect the increasing importance of community involvement and environmental stewardship.

From this year, 40 per cent of all marks will be awarded to efforts in horticulture, with 30 per cent each devoted to community and environment, instead of the previous split of 50, 25 and 25. 

The RHS Britain in Bloom judges will visit each of the finalists in August. With the winners of each category announced at an awards ceremony in the autumn.

 Check out the full list of 2019 Britain in Bloom finalists.

Be inspired by Bloom.

The BBC Two series that followed this quintessentially British competition in 2018 is also set to return this spring, featuring three of the 2019 UK Finalists – Pateley Bridge in Yorkshire, and Llandudno and Prestatyn, both in Wales.

If you’re interested in getting involved in Britain in Bloom, find out more

Dementia Friendly space.

Building a dementia friendly space.

We are planning to have a garden space within the Morfa Gateway area. To raise awareness of Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community.

This will replace the garden that is currently at the Old Library on Nant Hall Road in Prestatyn.

The area around the old library is due for redevelopment in the near future. Therefore we have taken the decision to relocate the space over to the Morfa Gateway site.

Since 2015 the garden has been entered in both the RHS “It’s your Neighbourhood” and as part of Prestatyn in Bloom.

We intend to enter again this year as part of the wider morfa gateway area.

Dementia Garden at the old library Prestatyn
The existing Dementia Friendly Space at The Old Library

We have a number of exciting plans including having an accessible flowerbed that will be filled with similar plants to the old bed.

This is currently under construction. Also we will be designing signage to help raise awareness.

The area is on a well used route for walking into town, within a great recreation space. Utilised a lot by dog walkers, and lots of footballers over the weekend.

Each year Maria from Grow Wild the outreach arm of Kew Gardens. Leads a walk as part of the Prestatyn and Clwydian range walking festival.

In 2019 we hope to include this area as part of the walk, to help raise further awareness.

Our volunteer leaders are also Chair and Champions for the Friendly Community initiative. Therefore are really keen to see the project come to fruition.

pathway
Start of the safety barrier work.

About Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community.

The dementia friendly  programme encourages everyone to share responsibility for ensuring that people with dementia feel understood, valued and able to contribute to their community.

Dementia Friends Information Sessions are run by volunteer Friends Champions, who are trained and supported by Alzheimer’s Society. Each Information Session lasts around one hour. You will learn more about and how you can help to create dementia friendly communities.

Weekly drop in sessions are held at the Old Library on Nant Hall road Prestatyn LL19 9LH from 2pm to 4pm every Friday.

Activities February 2019

We are very pleased to be able to publish the final list of winter activities for February.

Included are a couple of activities based at Artisans Collective at the Old Library on Nant Hall Road, Prestatyn.

Final Activities of January 2019.

Another great day on the 24th January at Coed Y Morfa. Planting Long Forest Project hedgerow with our volunteers, other community groups and organisations.

All part of the Keep Wales Tidy – Cadwch Gymru’n Daclus Long Forest Wales project, with great support from the Denbighshire Countryside Serviceteam.

Activities 24 Jan 2019

We have now planted over 800 feet of hedge as [art of the project.

Activities February 2019 1

We are looking forward to also hosting 2 feltmaking sessions at The Old Library. These will be run by Ticky Lowe.

Felt Making is an accessible, sensory and very satisfying creative activity – no skills or experience are necessary to produce a delightful textile.

The dates for your Diary are both Thursday Mornings from 10am on the 14th and 21st February.

Wild Flowers and Butterfly Glades

It is so satisfying to see that the final activities of February will be clearing non-native species of Plants. From plots in the centre of Coed Y Morfa. Then planting wild flowers to encourage pollinators.

We have been involved with wild flowers in a big way due to our involvement with Grow Wild over the past Five years.

Native wild flowers will also be a big part of our plans for the Gateway area activities in 2019.

Getting wildflower seeds started in life is easy and fun. Follow this simple guide to show you how to sow in soil.

That is us fully engaged until March. When we start back in earnest at the Gateway site. Preparing as part of the Prestatyn in Bloom spring preparations. It is certainly an all year round operation !

5 unexpected ways seeds kickstart the growing process | Grow Wild

5 unexpected ways seeds kickstart the growing process | Grow Wild 2All seeds need to start growing (a process called germination) by breaking through the tough outer coating that keeps their insides safe and snuggly until conditions are right. How they do this can be surprising! This is called breaking seed dormancy, and it’s downright sneaky sometimes, as you will see.

READ MORE HERE :  5 unexpected ways seeds kickstart the growing process | Grow Wild

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