News centre

Local schoolchildren sow wildflower seeds at York Community Woodland

Four young children stand behind yellow buckets of seed mix. Behind them are three adults resting their arms on a fence. They are all looking at the camera and smiling.
Children from Rufforth Primary School with City of York Council’s Woodland Engagement Manager Laura Redhead (left), and Education Officer Angela Ferguson and Woodmeadow Officer Dan Carne, who both work for the Woodmeadow Trust.

Published Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Four children from Rufforth Primary School were given the opportunity to sow wildflower seeds at the York Community Woodland site.

The children were selected after producing winning designs showing how the woodmeadow that will be created there might look. 

In keeping with its commitment to creating a cleaner, greener city and ambitious target of reaching net zero carbon by 2030, City of York Council plans to plant 50,000 trees on 194 acres of land to the west of the city by the spring of 2023.

As well as acting as a ‘carbon sink’, the green space will boost the health and mental wellbeing of local people by giving them somewhere to exercise, spend time outdoors in nature and a place for quiet contemplation. It will be an important wildlife habitat, enhancing biodiversity in York, as well as creating new green jobs and volunteering opportunities, and helping to boost the development of green skills. 

As part of the project, an area of woodmeadow is being created at the site, with the help of the Woodmeadow Trust and a local farmer. City of York Council invited Rufforth Primary School students to produce designs showing how the woodmeadow might look when it’s established, and the four winning entries are now on display on a noticeboard at the York Community Woodland site.

As a reward for coming up with such creative designs, the four winners were invited along to the site to help sow native wildflower seeds harvested from the Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve, together with a ‘nurse crop’ of annual cornfield flowers. The cornfield annuals will help to suppress weeds as the wildflowers begin to grow, as well as providing a colourful display for several weeks during the summer. However, it’s very important to cut and remove this annual growth in late July, the traditional time for hay cutting, so that the wildflower seeds can continue to grow successfully. 

City of York Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, Councillor Paula Widdowson said:

"Our long-term vision is to create a varied, biodiverse habitat full of woodland plants and animals.

The sowing of the woodmeadow is one of the first steps towards achieving this and it’s wonderful to see local schoolchildren getting involved in the project at this early stage.”

You can find out more about the York Community Woodland project online. 

Residents have until Wednesday 26 May to have their say on proposals for the York Community Woodland and can complete a short survey on the council website. After that date, all of the feedback will be collated so that it can be incorporated into the final woodland design.

Once the plans are finalised, it’s hoped that tree planting can begin during the 2021-22 autumn/winter planting season. There are still plenty of ways for people to get involved in the woodland project after the consultation has ended. Local residents and businesses can sign up to receive project updates and details of opportunities to get involved.