TWO Otley groups have joined forces to create a new wildflower garden.

Wildlife Friendly Otley and Otley in Bloom teamed up to transform the BT Exchange garden on Charles Street, Otley into a haven for pollinating insects - though the plot won’t look its best until next spring.

Members of both groups formed a socially distanced working party recently to seed the 80 sq metre area after turning turf using equipment provided by Otley Hire Centre. And now they are inviting residents to suggest more green spaces around town that could be similarly transformed.

Jane Smith of Wildlife Friendly Otley said: “We would like to thank BT for allowing us to convert this unused grass area into a wildflower garden.

“We would like more unused plots across Otley to re-wild like this. As well as looking colourful, they will be havens for insects and pollinators which are so vital for nature and wildlife.

“Just as there is a climate emergency there is an equally serious wildlife and biodiversity emergency.”

Bill Austin from Otley in Bloom said: “It might look a bit messy now but come the spring new shoots will emerge to flower throughout the season and then drop their seeds.

“The whole process will begin again, forming a wildlife-friendly area right in the centre of town. England has lost over 90 per cent of its wildflower meadows since the 1950s and there has been a devastating decline in bees and pollinators. Gardens and green spaces have enormous potential to help.

“If Otley residents would like to see more wildflower zones like this please let us know. We need quiet areas of grass and the landowner’s permission.”

Liz Needham from BT Group, North of England added: “We were pleased to give our backing to convert the plot.

“We look forward to a colourful display next year and hope it will contribute to improving the natural environment in the town centre.”

Suggestions for other sites should be e-mailed to or