As we head into spring, we’ve been planting a range of new trees, shrubs and flowers around our campus to improve habitats for wildlife and people alike. 

Wildflower turf at Norton Sports Park

The University’s sustainability strategy highlights the environmental benefits of enhanced green spaces describing university plans for diverse planting to help create a habitat mosaic, supporting local biodiversity and improving air quality.

In March, volunteers working alongside the University’s Landscaping services have helped plant hundreds of metres of turf to create wildflower meadows at both Goodwin Sports Centre and Norton Sports Park.

Wildflower turf at Goodwin Sports Centre

Wildflowers are prioritised as part of the University’s biodiversity action plan as they support a range of species and provide a contrast to other closely manicured areas of the estate. In the last few weeks, over 60 cherry trees, as part of the University tree management strategy, have also been planted across campus, including at the sports facilities at Goodwin.

Commenting on the planting, Director of Sport and Physical Activity, Andrew Cox said: “The installation of the wildflower meadows and cherry trees are just the start of plans to improve the flora, fauna and biodiversity of the sports grounds. We want them to be a great place to play sports but also provide a pleasant place for people to walk and relax, while also contributing habitats for birds, bees, insects and animals.

“Plans will include the improvement and protection of our grass playing surfaces, which are some of the best grass pitches in the city and replacing metal fences with natural hedgerows.”

Planting at Endcliffe student village

“Norton Sports Park has been an important part of our estate for over a century, we want this to be a place for our students, staff and community for many more years”

The Landscaping team are also working closely with volunteers to plant shrubs and hedging around the Endcliffe student village. Student volunteers, observing the rule of six, are filling in a gap of hedging along Endcliffe Crescent using shrubs provided by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).  

Hard at work

The species being planted include Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Common Dogwood, Goat Willow and Dog Rose. They are all hedgehog friendly, helping to build on the University’s success in becoming a silver-accredited Hedgehog Friendly Campus earlier this year.  

Discussing the planting at Endcliffe Village, Sustainability Projects Assistant Alice Potter noted that: “This initiative shows the enthusiasm from staff and students to support our local environment. As the coordinator of the University’s Green Impact volunteering programme, I see this passion on a daily basis.

“It is fantastic to see the University’s estate become a real asset to Sheffield’s local environment, supporting an increase in biodiversity and bringing nature closer to the whole community.”