St Nicks are leading a project to improve and connect all the green areas alongside the Foss – and there are plenty of them from Monkbridge all the way up to and beyond Strensall! If you look closely, there is an almost continuous green band near the banks – sometimes trees, sometimes hedges, occasionally just grass and scrub. Imagine how useful these areas could become to our wildlife if their biodiversity were to be increased and they were to be connected!
The Green Corridor Project
Along the banks of the Foss there are many small patches of land dotted around, copses, hedges, grassland and scrub. Most of them are untended, whilst others are regularly flailed or mown, and there are even a few which are already cared for in one way or another. They all have the potential to contribute to the area’s biodiversity, and if we could just join up them up and possibly improve some of them via some careful, low key management, they would be potentially much more valuable. However species rich they are individually, they are vulnerable to destructive events both natural and man-made, but if they are inter-connected, they are much more able to resist, recover or even better, expand.
The River Foss Society cooperates with St Nicks on many environmental projects. Perhaps the most exciting of these is the Green Corridor Project which aims to enhance and join up suitable potentially biodiverse sites along rivers and streams in the local area to form corridors along which wildlife can move freely.
According to Beki Haggar (St Nicks Green Corridors Officer) “We have been working on the creation and restoration of bigger, better, joined up habitats along three corridors and on twenty two sites across York, including floodplain meadow, hedgerows, woodlands and the riparian habitats of the critically endangered tansy beetle and water vole.” It is the RFS’s aim to work with St Nicks to extend this project to include the Foss which is a unique, and rather under-valued, environment leading right into the city.
The corridor project will provide an opportunity for some joined up action beginning with some low key activities which could make a big difference. What’s needed is a mix of habitats to allow various species each to find their ideal environment and crucially, for those which are mobile, give them a chance to intermingle and enrich their gene pools. For example, allowing selected areas of grass and scrub to grow up, possibly with the addition of a few extra local species, is an easy, low maintenance way of joining up the dots. If in addition, some other suitable plots could be improved by changing the way they are looked after, we could vastly improve biodiversity, adding significant benefits both for wildlife and for the community. Most residents would love the chance to witness the reappearance of bugs, bees, beetles, butterflies as well as other species both larger and smaller.
Our aim is to involve all the communities along the river and make the riverbanks, and ultimately the river itself, into something we can all be proud of.
A start is being made at West Nooks and at the Sessions Reserve near the Link Road.