A new open space with room for nature to thrive and local people to relax has opened in Dartford.

As part of Dartford Borough Council’s Nature Networks initiative, wildflower meadows and orchards have been planted at popular parks across the borough. These meadows create a vital habitat for wildlife to flourish while also benefitting the wider environment and local people’s wellbeing.

On Friday Hesketh Park’s wildflower meadow and orchard were opened by Leader of the Council Jeremy Kite MBE and The Worshipful the Mayor of Dartford Cllr Paul Cutler.

The meadow was planted in 2021 as part of the Planet Dartford initiative, while trees planted on site will grow apples for the public to enjoy and will also support wildlife. Benches and tables have been installed for people to enjoy their surroundings and have a picnic.

Leader of the Council Jeremy Kite MBE said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has helped to create these amazing outdoor spaces, from the Council’s brilliant Parks team, to our contractors Continental Landscapes, and of course the selfless volunteers who’ve worked so hard to shape these great spaces.

“We wanted to give local people a space where they could enjoy nature growing freely, without taking away valuable play space. These spaces are open to dog walkers, but I’d recommend dogs stay on a lead just to protect the diverse habitats that are forming.

“These meadows are going to be a brilliant asset for Dartford going forward, not just for children to play in and for adults to walk around, but for local wildlife to flourish and help boost our environment.

“Similar meadows and orchards are opening in Swanscombe Park and Central Park. I’d encourage residents to keep an eye out and enjoy the great nature that’s on their doorstep.”