At Exeter St Thomas Station the Exeter-bound platform has been transformed with the installation of a wildlife friendly Eco Garden with mosaic minibeasts, bug hotels, sedum matting and a wildflower meadow, a sustainable solution for a raised station platform with no water supply.
The Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership’s Citizens’ Rail project in 2015 brought together ideas from the Friends of Exeter St Thomas Station, Great Western Railway, Devon County Council, Devon Wildlife Trust and Bloom ‘In St Thomas and together they have transformed the station.
The Eco Garden has won two awards in 2016. ‘Outstanding’ in South West in Bloom ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ and a Gold Certificate in the national Association of Community Rail Partnerships ‘It’s Your Station’ award.
This is the first time sedum matting has been installed on the platform of a UK railway station. The installer Landmark Living Roofs brought all their creative ideas to the project, including an insect friendly ‘sculpture’ they made from broken up old paving slabs from the site. www.landmarklivingroofs.co.uk
Minibeasts arrived on the Eco Garden walls in March 2016. St Thomas Primary and Southbrook Schools worked with mosaic artist Monica Shanta Brown to create two minibeast mosaic panels. www.monica-shanta.net
Devon Wildlife Trust brought together Friends of St Thomas Station and Exeter Student Volunteers Environmental Project to create bug hotels to overwinter insects attracted to the sedum.
In April 2016 the Friends of Exeter St Thomas Station joined local councillors, the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership and Devon Wildlife Trust to plant stage 2 of the Eco Garden with wildflower seeds around and between the paving stones at the north end of the Exeter-bound platform.
Poppies, cornflowers, and ox-eye daisies flower between June and October, adding colour and attracting bees and other beneficial insects.