India of Inchinnan Wildflower Meadow - Project Outline & Proposals
Inchinnan Development Trust plans to bring an area of amenity grassland located behind the India of Inchinnan building on Greenock Road into community ownership to create a new space for our local wildlife and community.
The site was originally developed as part of an industrial site which dates back to the early 1900s. Following the demolition of India Tyres Rubber Works the site was converted to grassland and only the listed India of Inchinnan building remains (adjacent to the site).
If successful, the Trust plans to transform this land into a diverse wildflower meadow along with various educational/recreational features. The aim will be to improve the overall appearance of the site, create a new communal greenspace our community to engage with, and encourage greater use of the site by wildlife species - helping to support our local pollinator, small mammal and bird populations.
Pictured: Examples of meadows during flowering season in communities across the UK (L-R: Newbury Town Council, Falmouth Urban Buzz, West Bristol Climate Action Group).
The site is currently classed as 'amenity grassland' (i.e highly maintained, short-mown grass) and is managed for an aesthetic purpose with little biodiversity or ecological value. The Trust aims to change this, introducing native wildflowers and other plant species to the land to transform it into a wildflower meadow.
The first step of this process will be working with a local ecological consultancy and our wildlife volunteers to assess the current condition and characteristics of the site, while identifying opportunities for improvement - allowing for a tailored approach to meadow creation and species selection suited to the land/surrounds.
Transformation of the site would then be achieved through carefully planned management strategies. Most likely this will include the removal of grass turf and top layer of soil to expose the less fertile subsoil below (as highly fertile soil can impede wildflower growth) and to disturb/scarify the soil surface. Following this, a specific mix of wildflower seeds and grasses suitable for the site/area can be sown. A cutting regime and other management practises can then be put in place to maintain the meadow, control the balance of species and prevent the meadow being overtaken by more dominant plants/grasses.
Overall, this will encourage greater use of the site by wildlife and help to support our local bird, small mammal and insect populations (particularly our pollinators).
Pictured (L-R): European goldfinch, Meadow brown, Common blue damselfly, Buff-tailed bumblebee - some of the species which could benefit from the proposed India of Inchinnan meadow.
Recreational Infrastructure & Educational Opportunities
By creating an area which is managed by our community for biodiversity, we not only create an improved space for Inchinnan's wildlife but also for our community members to share, appreciate, and learn from. Specifically, the site offers an accessible greenspace for our community thanks to its flat terrain - allowing the Trust to create equal access and making it easier for all to enjoy.
Pictured: community members attending The Conservation Volunteers 'meadow creation' workshop (left) and practising meadow creation techniques on India Tyres Playing Fields (right).
Our community will be involved through all stages of the project, with our volunteer network contributing to initial work to establish the meadow and it's on-going management. Small-scale citizen science projects will be a key part of the project, helping to record species on site and assess the condition of the meadow.
The Trust plans to install recreational and educational infrastructure in select areas of the site, including rest benches and information boards which detail the history of the site and details of the meadow/wildlife it supports. As part of this, we have plans for an educational play area, complete with a wooden structure in the shape of the iconic R34 airship for children to play in and learn from.
The Trust will also use the space as an educational tool, through both our own initiatives and work with schools, to challenge perceptions of wild grassland and explain the benefits of these habitats - giving local children an opportunity to learn about nature on their doorstep and gain new environmental knowledge/skills in the process.
The first stage of this project is to consult with you, our community members, to gauge opinions and support for site proposals. Our community survey can be found here - we look forward to hearing from you and working together to establish Inchinnan's first community wildflower meadow!