Can Harrogate’s Stray Bee-friendly?

1 October 2020

Harrogate Borough Council is calling for volunteers to help plant 60,000 crocuses on the West Park Stray in the coming months. However Harrogate Green Party is asking; ‘can we look for more bio-diversity and make the Stray bee-friendly with native wildflowers, wild daffodils, and other plants which will help our bees?’

  • Call to make the Stray Bee-friendly for more than just the spring months.
  • Harrogate Green Party “an ideal opportunity for wildflowers and biodiversity in Harrogate”.
  • As we see 40% of insects declining in the UK now is the time to make impactful changes.

This could make use of wildflower verges or prairie planting which is a mixture of grasses and flowering perennials, that is most effective in larger areas and offers a relaxed, naturalistic feel.

Rebecca Maunder, Harrogate, and District Green Party campaigner said:

We can really live up to our Harrogate in Bloom name, for the benefit of the community AND to have a positive effect on the environment at the same time. The crocuses look beautiful during the spring, however, we now have a fantastic opportunity to really bring the Stray to life with nature.

Harrogate is uniquely placed, more so than many other towns and cities due to the 200 acres of community space that the Stray provides. For decades it has been a place the local community enjoys. We want to ensure its effectiveness for future generations, and make sure it is also a place for nature. We need to play our part in re-addressing the dwindling insect numbers in the UK and this is a great opportunity that we should not miss.

Since the 1930s, our traditional wildflower meadows have declined due to human practices – we now have a responsibility to regenerate land wherever we can; from adding natural verges, and wildflower areas to tree planting and halting the use of pesticides. If managed sensitively, the Stray can add to a local diverse and ecologically complex environment to help reverse the decline of insects, including essential pollinators.

The Green Party has that Harrogate Borough Council is reluctant to improve their planting scheme telling them that they have complaints from local residents if bulb foliage is not ‘tidied away’ quickly.

They are asking local residents to implore Harrogate Borough Council to expand their planting to include native wildflowers not only on the West Park part of the Stray but other areas as well, such as Tewit Well and Christ Church.

Rebecca Maunder said:

If more people make a plea for nature than ‘tidy’ we can have a positive impact on wildlife and future generations.


  1. Wonderful idea to use parts of the Stray for planting wild flowers and those that will attract bees.

    • Excellent idea. Please do it asap as it would be a visual treat and life line for pollinators

  2. YES< YES< YES….have been asking this for years, lets just do it. Children will learn about our wild flowers, and the benefit they bring to our insects. A trip on the Stay would be an adventure and not just a walk xx

  3. I think it is a wonderful idea to make parts of The Stray more bee friendly and would greatly encourage the planting of more wild flowers and plants to attract the bees and butterflies.

  4. Yes absolutely, so much opportunity to make a fantastic impact, help nature and attract more visitors, animal and human.

  5. If they can do it in France and other country’s why can’t we. Wild flowers look great all summer and help wildlife. I’m all for it. The sooner the better.

  6. I would like to see more wildflower on the stray and verges around every town.What a brilliant idea to start on West Park Stray.

  7. What a great idea, as well as encouraging the insects it would provide colour and interest for large parts of the year.

  8. Short mown grass is almost akin to a desert for wildlife. Even letting the grass grow in selected areas would be a start, but wild flowers are needed so badly by insects as shelter and food. And please don’t spray “weeds” – the contamination/seepage is lethal to below ground creatures (worms etc).

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