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The Crewe-side bank

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Anyone arriving or departing from platform 2 at the station will see that the border on the Crewe slide slope has now been fully planted and that summer looks as if it is beginning to poke through the rain.

What travellers may not notice is the stealthy work proceeding on the bank below the road. Former station adopter and naturalist, George Hill remarked some years ago " At the back of the up platform, and at the sides of the path down from the road, are green areas that, even with the ordered planting projects now powered by the enthusiasm of green-fingered local people, will probably always be rustling, faintly buzzing jungles, where there is always something to observe as an afternoon whiles away. Benefiting from full sunshine all day, the sometime shrub border can be literally crawling with wildlife when examined closely."

Those "green-fingered" locals have taken George's words to heart. For two seasons now, we have been fighting back the brambles and changing over to a twice a year mowing regime, removing the mowings to give smaller, wild flowers the chance to grow through the more vigorous plants.

This is showing signs of working and after the late August mow, we shall seed down a variety of meadow plants in the hope that they will thrive in years to come.

You may have seen a feature on 'Countryfile' about the value of roadside verges to wildlife. You may also be aware of the Plantlife campaign.

Plantlife advises that the optimum regime to promote wildflowers is to cut the full width of the verge between mid-July and the end of September. Then cut once more before Christmas. This is the ideal option to conserve and enhance wild flowers, as it mimics the pattern of traditional meadow management.

If we stick to this regime and reintroduce some species by selective sowing, we should create a lovely habitat for wildlife as well as providing something truly rural to see in our increasingly urbanised village environment.

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