Urban gardens are a huge nature reserve

April 28 2021

HEDGEHOGS, birds and insects all need help in urban areas to stop their numbers declining.

HEDGEHOGS, birds and insects all need help in urban areas to stop their numbers declining.

Avon Wildlife Trust wants residents to think of the gardens of homes across the Kingswood area as a huge, urban nature reserve.

Georgia Moore at Avon Wildlife Trust said that if just one in four people takes action, it makes a difference to wildlife numbers.

She said: “Even in urban areas we can make small changes that make a huge difference to whether wildlife survives or not.

“For example, we have a lot of hedgehogs in urban gardens in this area. Putting out some fresh water and cat or dog food for them, not human food, at night will attract them to your garden.

“A hedgehog can travel 5k per night, so making small hedgehog holes at the base of fences can help them easily travel between gardens and turn the whole area into one big nature reserve.

“We’re also seeing a big decline in insects. If you think back to your childhood, you probably remember car windscreen wipers being used a lot to clear the windscreen of insects.

“That hardly ever happens now because numbers have declined so much.”

Avon Wildlife Trust manages the Willsbridge Valley woodland around Willsbridge Mill in Longwell Green and has spent much of the past year felling ash trees there.

Ms Moore said: “Up to 90 per cent of ash trees in the UK will be affected by ash dieback. It’s an airborne fungus so there’s nothing we can do to stop it, but we do have to fell any trees that have it and could fall on people’s heads or across pathways.

“There are no plans yet to replace the trees we’re having to fell because it would cost a huge amount and, like most wildlife charities, we have lost a lot of funding in the past year.”

As part of its work supporting nature across the wider Bristol area, the trust is asking South Gloucestershire residents to complete a survey. They want to find out where and when urban residents are accessing nature at the moment, what opportunities they’d like to have in the future and what they are doing and want to do in their own gardens.

To join in the survey go to avonwildlifetrust.org.uk/haveyoursaysg

Five ways to boost wildlife in built-up areas

1  Make a small pond in your garden – using an old washing bowl or container is sufficient. It will support insects and amphibians, which in turn support animals further up the food chain.

2  Put up a bird box on the wall of your home, garage or shed. Modern homes often lack the eaves that birds used to rely on to nest in.

3  Agree with your neighbours to make a small hedgehog hole (a bit larger than a tennis ball) in adjoining fences at ground level so hedgehogs can roam from garden to garden. A hedgehog travels up to 5km every night.

4  Make a hedgehog home out of some old pieces of wood, soil and dry leaves. See avonwildlifetrust.org.uk  for full instructions.

5  Plant wild flowers in your garden to attract bees and other pollinators.