A bakery is helping to transform one of the UK’s biggest industrial estates into a haven for wildlife – and halt the decline of a rare butterfly.
The Village Bakery has planted the verges and grassed areas around its two bakeries on Wrexham Industrial Estate with wildflower seeds.
It’s part of their Village Green campaign to make the family-run business as environmentally sustainable as possible.
Since 2012 the company – which also has a bakery in Minera – has slashed the use of electricity by 18 per cent
They have also installed more than 1,000 roof-top solar panels. The 250 kilowatt system means in summer they are able to run their bakery just on solar energy during the majority of daylight hours.
In addition, they have created a spectacular four storey high living wall of evergreen plants at their new Baking Academy and Innovation Centre which was officially opened by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall last year.
The building’s ground-breaking design includes a host of other green features including rainwater harvesting, massive levels of insulation and building panels made of recycled material.
The living wall – believed to be the biggest of its type in Wales – has been planted with hundreds of plants which change colour as the seasons come and go.
Meanwhile, the family firm has teamed up as official partners with the North Wales Wildlife Trust.
As a result, there are plans to create a nature reserve in six acres of adjoining woodland next to the bakery.
The broad leaf woodland dates back to the 17th century and includes native species like oak, ash and willow.
It’s known there are tawny owls nesting there and it is also an important habitat for greater crested newts.
According to the company, the newly-sown wildflowers in the verges will create the idea habitat for the endangered Grizzled Skipper butterflies.
The numbers of the butterfly, which has a distinctive chequered black and white pattern on its wings, have halved in Britain over the past 40 years.
Jonny Hulson, the North Wales Wildlife Trust’s living landscape officer for Wrexham industrial estate, praised the Village Bakery for their commitment to the environment and encouraging biodiversity.
He said: “There is an issue on the industrial estate with fragmentation of habitats so it’s about working with everyone to try to connect the habitats and allow wildlife to move through the landscape, so in the future it’s conserved and here for everybody to enjoy.
“The Village Bakery have been really involved with wildflower planting, and we’ve got three areas here of wildflower meadow.
“In one area we’ve sown it with a mix of cornfield annuals – poppies, cornflowers, and corn camomile.
“In another area there’s a mixture of perennials and cornfield annuals, so after this year it will be managed as a perennial native wildflower meadow.
“The Village Bakery have been fantastic, they’re showing how grassland can be managed more sustainably.
“It’s reducing costs, it’s contributing to the local environment and biodiversity – and it just looks wonderful as well as being a major benefit to wildlife.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Ashley Dawson, the business and sustainability manager at the Village Bakery.
He said: “As well as looking attractive, the wildflowers will provide the ideal habitat for a whole host of interebrates – insects, butterflies and bees.
“There’s a species called the Grizzled Skipper Butterfly whose number is in decline at the moment.
“A wild flower meadow has proven to be a home to those species so hopefully we will be doing our bit to to boost their numbers and halt their decline.”