11 June 2014

Mother Shipton moves in!

Mother Shipton has moved into the Wildflower meadows at Wickhurst Rise in Portslade!

The moth, named after the pattern on its wing which is supposed to look like Mother Shipton a middle ages prophetess who had a long chin and nose, has settled among the wild flowers planted by Brighton & Hove City Council.

“The council’s wildflower meadows and verges have attracted a wealth of wildlife into the city, including many insects, such as the Mother Shipton moth, which are attracted to the longer grass and flowers.”

The meadows have been created as part of the South Downs Way Ahead Nature Improvement Project

As one of the partners in the project, council rangers worked with volunteers to collect seed from wildflowers on the downs around Brighton and Hove.

The seeds were planted and grown into small “plug plants” by more volunteers under the watchful eye of nursery staff in Stanmer Nursery. Over the winter, council rangers worked with more volunteers from around the city to plant 90,000 plants in areas that were regularly mown grass.

The mowing frequency has been reduced and these plants are now coming up and attracting wildlife that would not have been seen in the area before

The next few weeks will see many of the wildflower areas bursting into bloom, many with striking red poppies to commemorate the anniversary of World War 1.

Councillor Pete West, chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee said: “It’s wonderful to see that the new wildflower areas created in the city coming into bloom and already attracting rare and unusual wildlife.

“It’s a fitting tribute to all our parks staff, rangers and volunteers who have worked extremely hard to make this happen and to our partners in the Nature Improvement project.”

For more information about the Nature Improvement Project, visit http://www.southdowns.gov.uk/looking-after/biodiversity/south-downs-way-ahead-nature-improvement-area