Volunteers turn train stations into wildlife havens

PUBLISHED: 10:07 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:07 17 March 2020

Brimstone butterfly - a thriving species at the Somerleyton station in Suffolk. Photo: Matt Berry / Butterfly Conservation Trust.

Brimstone butterfly - a thriving species at the Somerleyton station in Suffolk. Photo: Matt Berry / Butterfly Conservation Trust.

Matt Berry / Butterfly Conservation Trust

A train operator’s rail stations are set to become wildlife havens this spring thanks to the work of hundreds of volunteers.

A Greater Anglia team of station adopters, who look after the train stations on behalf of their communities, are planting and caring for gardens at rail stations across the network.

This will provide habitats for local wildlife as well as making the stations more welcoming, with more than 5,700 square metres of gardens tended to this year – the equivalent of 29 tennis courts.

Volunteers will also place more than 200 planters for platforms at stations across Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk.

The gardens, some of which have been developed throughout many years, are becoming havens for local wildlife populations – with the railway increasingly being recognised by ecologists as a ‘green corridor’ which provides a sanctuary for many kinds of flora and fauna.

In a recent survey, Greater Anglia station adopters reported a wide range of creatures visiting their stations, including many different types of butterflies as well as bees, slow worms, bats, foxes, deer and a variety of birds.

Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s customer and community engagement manager, said: “Thanks to the care and attention of our team of station adopters, we have thousands upon thousands of plants thriving at our rail stations, which helps not only to make them more welcoming, but are benefiting the environment too.

“Many of these gardens have been designed to be wildlife friendly, enhancing biodiversity and providing food, shelter and breeding places for many different types of wildlife.

“Some of them are becoming really magical places as a result, helping to support rare types of wildlife and benefiting their communities by helping to improve the local environment and existing more harmoniously with their rural surroundings.”

“This is all helping the railway in East Anglia to lead the green revolution by being a much greener way to travel - and our new fleet of trains will contribute even more thanks to their more environmentally-friendly features, which reduce CO2 and particulate emissions in the region further still.”

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