Carricknakielt Picnic Area, on the Glenshane Road, 2 miles from Maghera, is being managed by Mid Ulster District Council to enable wildflowers to become established. Three years ago, the site had a good ‘showing’ of Lady’s-smock (cuckooflower), and with interest from members of the public, the council initiated a management program which would increase the biodiversity value of the site, and enhance the area for visitors.
A section of the site was retained unmown, allowing a range of wildflowers to develop. The resultant increase in invertebrates using the site was noticeable, with butterflies, ladybirds, bumblebees, and hoverflies all easily observed. Following positive feedback from the public, the size of the area left unmown was increased to incorporate most of the site, the only areas being mown to enable access to the picnic tables.
Mid Ulster District Council are in the process of assessing other sites for suitability for a similar change in management, and are pleased to be consulting with the “Don’t Mow, Let It Grow” project to further their development.