Wrabness Station is set to become a haven for local wildlife thanks to a new community rail project.
The Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership (CRP) have worked with local residents, station adopter volunteers, the Essex Path to Prosperity Project, Community Rail Network, the Bee Friendly Trust and Greater Anglia to create a new wildlife area next to the station.
Approximately a quarter of an acre of overgrown scrub land where the station master’s house once stood has been transformed into a wildlife and visitor-friendly garden, including bug hotels, bird boxes, a pond for frogs and a hibernaculum built for newts, lizards and toads.
Two large planters full of bee-friendly forage greet visitors at the front of the garden, with a path leading to seats constructed from railway sleepers and on the stumps of ancient trees. A third planter displays a collage of ceramic tiles created by residents of Acorn Village, a residential home for adults with learning disabilities, and there are specially commissioned artworks around the garden including metal sculptures, relief wooden carvings of bees, wooden sculptures and a large bird bath on decorated pedestal.
There is an herb bed by the entrance to the garden from which visitors, rail travellers and the community are encouraged to help themselves, and the entire area has been sown with native wildflower seeds which will establish themselves through the summer.
The garden was officially opened by Julia Prigg BEM, the station adopter, on 25 March, with residents, guests and project partners in attendance.
In addition, the Bee Friendly Trust involved 6–8-year-olds at Wix & Wrabness Primary School in the project, delivering ‘pollination workshops’ and facilitating the pupils to paint posters which will be displayed around the garden. One of the posters has been chosen by the children to be on a T-shirt produced to celebrate the project.
Juliana Dempsey, on behalf of the Essex Path to Prosperity Project, said: “It is so important that we all do our bit for biodiversity and important species like bees. The Essex Climate Action Commission has an aim that by 2040, 30% of Essex will be wildlife areas. To make that happen, we all need to put aside land for nature, whether you are a large farmer, a business, a school or a train station wildlife garden. This is a great partnership of Pathways to Prosperity, the Community Railway and Wrabness Primary School coming together to improve nature in Wrabness!”
Terri Ryland, Essex & South Suffolk CRP Officer, said: “This has been a fantastic collaborative project and we are so excited for rail passengers and the community to come and see the wildlife garden and enjoy watching it develop over the coming months. We are very grateful to all the partners who made it possible with their generous support.”
Paul Webster, Support and development manager at Community Rail Network, said: “This project is a fabulous example of how partnership working between local groups, the Community Rail Partnership and biodiversity experts have looked beyond the station platforms to further develop the green spaces at Wrabness into both a vibrant colourful space for plants and bees together with it being a peaceful area for passengers and the local community to enjoy too.
“We are incredibly proud and pleased to have been able to provide a financial contribution through the Community Rail Development Fund towards this fantastic scheme.”