It’s full steam ahead for community projects at Southern’s Angmering railway station as gardeners hope to build on the success of their blooming wildflower area.
Friends of Angmering Station are buzzing with pride as their newly planted haven for pollinating insects is attracting an array of creatures to the westbound platform. Their green-fingered endeavours follow on from their ‘Pollinator Promise,’ which complements West Sussex County Council’s recently-launched Pollinator Action Plan to make West Sussex more pollinator friendly.
During Bees Needs Week (8-14 July), station group Friends of Angmering, as well as pupils from Georgian Gardens Community Primary School in Rustington and Men in Sheds, showed off their garden to West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet member for environment, Deborah Urquhart.
Cllr Urquhart praised the work, saying: “It’s marvellous what’s happening here and hopefully this can be replicated in all the stations in West Sussex. We all know how important bees are for pollination.”
Pupil Ruby, eight, said: “Bees are very important because they make sure we can have food. They make sure plants can grow. If plants couldn’t grow, we wouldn’t be able to live because we need oxygen.”
Chair of the Friends of Angmering Station Deirdre Carolin, who is a retired teacher, said: “As the children are going to become the young adults who continue the sustainability, I think it’s important they have this support from the station. We are very lucky to have station staff who are so supportive and help with the watering.”
Deirdre said the next part of the ‘Sidetracked’ project at the Southern station would be to plant herbs and vegetables. The Friends are also keen to install an information board, detailing different insects and flowers that can be seen in the garden. They want to encourage children who are waiting for a train to try and spot as many of the insects and plants as possible. It is also hoped that the area will be used by local children as a science resource.
Rowena Tyler, who is Sussex Community Rail Partnership’s Community Development Officer for Arun Valley Line and Coastway West Line, welcomed the plans, adding: “Friends of Angmering is one of our exemplary station partners.”
The Friends of Angmering Station group was officially set up in 2018 and since then many projects, including the wildflower meadow, have been part of their ‘Sidetracked’ project. Along with the planting, the group has also installed a ‘5 Star Bug Hotel’ made from a woodpile, bird boxes and butterfly house. Other Sidetracked activities include the installation of a Christmas tree in the station’s booking office with decorations made by schoolchildren, the creation of displays for Remembrance Day as well as displays of local art work.
GTR’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Katherine Cox said: “It has been wonderful to see the garden come into flower and become a focal point on our westbound platform. This project has brought the community together, from schoolchildren to the members of Men in Sheds, and what a great result for all involved.”
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
- Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
- Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria