Frogs will have more shelter and bees more nectar to feed on thanks to the planting of native water plants on the banks of a brook.

In May, CRT volunteers and Conservation and Mapping Officer Ruth Moss planted six species on the banks of the Slough Brook on Turnastone Court Farm in Herefordshire. 

They planted water mint, marsh marigold, lesser spearwort, purple loosestrife, soft rush and yellow flag iris. The plants will give a diverse habitat and their roots will stabilise the bank, helping to minimise erosion. 

Ruth explained: “All the species planted are native to Britain and have therefore had thousands of years of evolution within the landscape to have a well-established ‘place’ within the wider ecosystem.

“Marsh marigold provides shelter for amphibians such as the common frog with its wide, flat leaves. Purple loosestrife attracts over 30 species of herbivorous insects and is a good source of nectar and pollen for bees, including the common carder bee, which has been spotted foraging on its stunning flowers at Turnastone.

“Similarly, lesser spearwort is great for a wide range of different pollinators. Yellow-flag iris suits long-tongued bumblebees, such as the garden bumblebee, due to its deep flowers. Its leaves also provide protective habitat for other species of invertebrate such as water snails and froghoppers. 

“As its name describes, water mint is a plant of freshwater environments and research suggests the species has depolluting properties, making it a beneficial species for purifying water in rivers. It is also loved by many hoverflies and other insects for food. 

“In addition to all these direct benefits, the planting of these native water plants will increase biodiversity and support the wider food web by providing more invertebrates and amphibians for predators to feed on. For instance, insectivorous birds like the spotted flycatcher, which catches flies, butterflies, damselflies and bees mid-air. This red-listed bird has been recorded on Turnastone and will likely benefit from having more to eat.”

The CRT would like to thank Welsh Water Community Fund, Pennycress Trust and Hyne Trust for supporting this project. Thanks also to the CRT volunteers who did the planting and to employees of Briggs Equipment who, earlier this month, cleared vegetation that was encroaching on the plants as part of their workplace volunteering day.

BANNER: Water mint.
TOP RIGHT: CRT volunteer Chris Humphries planting up coir mats with native water plants. The coir was staked into the ground to help keep the plants in place. Made from coconut fibre, it will naturally biodegrade.
LEFT: Purple loosestrife.
BOTTOM: Colleagues from Briggs Engineering clear space around the growing plants. Photos by Ruth Moss.


Published: 21st September 2023


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