A dedicated group of school leavers have been rolling up their sleeves to help create a wildflower meadow at a former mansion site in Workington.

The students’ work at the Bankfield Mansion Gardens site, off Newlands Lane, was part of the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme which is a voluntary personal and social development programme for 16 to 17 year olds.

The hard-working group of 12 volunteers have contributed 40 hours of their time to help the Workington Nature Partnership, a joint initiative by Allerdale Borough Council and Workington Town Council, carry out a project linked to the Get Cumbria Buzzing scheme.

The area where the former mansion stood is being transformed into a wildflower meadow for pollinating insects and a wildlife corridor including the gardens and woodlands on site.

The old mansion site is a valuable stepping stone in the nature corridor for many mammals and bird species, linking Hall Park and Ellerbeck/Harrington Nature Reserve.

By helping to remove some of the invasive ragwort and common hogweed plants from the wildflower meadow the youngsters have contributed to them not becoming the dominant species and allowing the wildflowers to flourish.

In addition to this work, sycamore poles are being sourced from woodlands to be made into rustic hurdles to create a natural-looking boundary to the meadow, rather than installing industrial looking metal or concrete barriers, to prevent cars from parking on the wildlife rich site.

To date, the meadow has flourished with red and white clover, plantain and vetch which are great for the bees and butterflies.

Holly blue and speckled wood butterflies have been regular visitors, whilst, the green dock beetle has also been happy on this patch.

Susan Cammish, Nature Ranger with Workington Nature Partnership, said: “The contribution of the NCS group is priceless and has provided a great boost to the WNP staff and volunteers - known as the Wednesday Wombles at the mansion gardens location.

"They persevered through the unseasonal rain, listened to instructions, followed the guidance and worked enthusiastically. An achievement to be proud of.”

Sue Lamb from Inspira, who deliver the NCS programme, said: “As the full NCS programme was unable to go ahead this year, young people were encouraged to take part in ‘one million hours of doing good’, a shortened version that focused on support for their local communities.

“Young people from across the country made a pledge to donate some of their free time to volunteer in their local area. They were able to choose the projects that wanted to support, and which would help them meet the purposes of helping local communities and creating positive change.

“The group from across Allerdale and Copeland only met as a group on the week of the project but have already developed strong friendship bonds. Inspira are delighted to be working together with Workington Nature Partnership and this has ensured that the young people pick up new skills and further develop life skills that will help them in their future career.”

The site is earmarked for hundreds of wildflower plug plants in the coming weeks followed up by a seasonal meadow mow in the late summer months.

For more information on volunteering opportunities with the Workington Nature Partnership contact them on their Facebook page.