Blooming beauties: 160 new wildflower meadows to sprout annually in the east of England

wildflower meadow

Flagship Group's biodiversity and land manager Dan Salliss, left, and neighbourhood operations manager Ryan Cox on a wildflower meadow in Horning, Norfolk

Around 160 new wildflower meadows will be created each year by an east of England social housing provider as part of a “completely new” approach to land management.

Flagship Group – which owns more than 32,000 homes and 1,200 green spaces, plans to turn over ever more of its land to long grass and wildflowers annually until 2030 in an effort to create havens for plants and animals.

Dan Salliss, Flagship’s biodiversity and land manager, said: “This is one of the biggest projects we’ve ever had. It’s about creating habitats for wildflowers, butterflies, bees and other insects, and providing cover for small animals.  But this is also aimed at improving access to nature for people, which benefits their wellbeing.”

wildflower meadow

Flagship Group is planning to create hundreds of new seasonal wildflower meadows, such as this, on its land over the next six years

“The idea is to create stepping stones through the landscape, so nature can travel more easily from one site to another. Previously, where we have always cut the grass short, it doesn’t provide too much for nature.”

Ryan Cox, Flagship’s grounds maintenance operations manager, added: “It’s a completely new approach to how we manage our land, which is going to benefit not only the environment, but our tenants and the public.”

After mowing in April, the sites will be left to grow until the end of summer, when they will be cut short. They will be cut again in autumn, and wildflower seeds will be sown in many areas for future seasons.

Mr Salliss said: “This approach allows us to be flexible and work with the local communities. If a tenant raises an issue with a particular site, perhaps it’s an area where children were playing football before, we can change the shape of it in the summer and do what works best for the people who live there.”

Flagship biodiversity sign

A sign promoting Flagship’s biodiversity project

A pilot scheme involving 34 Flagship sites took place last summer. Mr Salliss said it led to a doubling of wildflowers on that land, with species including oxeye daisies, cornflowers, bee orchids and pyramidal orchids.

This year, the land covered will span more than 10 hectares, or just over the area of 14 Premier League football pitches.

The aim is to have meadows on all green spaces Flagship owns and have 30% of its land managed in a nature-friendly way. 

People who want to make suggestions, or who want to work with Flagship on the scheme can email