CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

Why sharing our neighbourhoods with wildlife is important for the development and growth of local species’

PUBLISHED: 11:47 18 May 2015 | UPDATED: 11:47 18 May 2015

Bullfinch on Feeder © Dave Kilbey 2008

Bullfinch on Feeder © Dave Kilbey 2008

© Dave Kilbey 2008

Whether your outside space is vast or small, you can do your bit to make it wildlife friendly says Debbie Dawkins from the Wildlife Trust

About a fifth of the land in our towns and cities is gardens. Not only do gardens prevent flooding, keep our air clean, and make us healthier and happier – but they are of course great opportunities for us to create a home for wildlife right in the heart of our communities.

Gardens provide a vital network of green spaces throughout our neighbourhoods, which help wildlife live, feed and get around. We have the power to create green corridors both in our towns and countryside.

It doesn’t even matter whether your outside space is a balcony, an acre of land, or something in between – with some 16 million gardens in the UK, we can make a big difference to our local wildlife.

Welcoming wildlife into your garden also doesn’t mean your garden has to be a messy jungle. Gardening for nature is now very fashionable, with wildlife gardens featuring at the major national garden shows. There are plenty of ways to create a stunning space to enjoy at the same time as being wildlife-friendly.

In towns and cities the diversity of gardens along a street is brilliant for fostering a range of creatures – with different borders, hedges, ponds, trees, shrubs and flowers, there’s room for all sorts of wildlife.

It can be as simple as choosing plants with hungry wildlife in mind – flowers such as lavender, crocus, snowdrops and sunflowers are all fantastic food for bees, and are gorgeous to have in your garden. Shrubs and trees with berries such as hawthorn, yew, holly, elder and blackthorn are a great natural source of food for visiting birds.

As well as providing food, we can also create homes for wildlife. A window box could provide ladybirds and other insects a sheltered place to hibernate over winter. Ponds are also a haven for wildlife – not only do they host all manner of insects and amphibians like dragonflies and frogs, but they are a source of drinking water to thirsty birds and animals.

Rather than building a boundary fence, you can plant a native hedge – which looks much more natural, and attracts birds, insects, moths and butterflies. And of course bird boxes, bee hotels and bat boxes are easy ways to help them find somewhere to live and bring up families too.

If you have the room, a compost heap is a great way to reduce the amount of waste your family throws away, create a home for bugs and reptiles and make your own free eco-compost. Unfortunately much compost available in the shops contains peat, extracted from and destroying sensitive nature havens across the country. With a compost heap, you know where your compost has come from and can be assured that it’s not harming the unique plants, insects and birds that depend on peat habitats.

Like so many things, wildlife gardening is not only good for nature, but it’s good for us too. As any gardener will tell you, a solid afternoon’s work in the garden can be as challenging a workout as a gym session. But more than that, green spaces help alleviate stress, relax us, and keep us healthy. The enjoyment from seeing wildlife visitors in your garden makes it well worth the effort.

More than half of our members at the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust join us to find out more about wildlife gardening. We also award certificates and plaques to wildlife-friendly gardeners throughout Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Our regular members’ magazine and website offer some great tips from experts and gardeners alike sharing ideas and tips for how to make your outdoor space as wildlife-friendly as possible. Find out more on



How free access to nature in Hampshire can improve health - Barely a week goes by when we don’t hear on the news about the incredible strain our health system is under. Whether it’s overstretched A&E departments, or older people in our communities becoming frailer – it’s clear something needs to change for the NHS to cope.

More from Out & About

Fri, 10:42

Is this the ultimate city break? Winchester has it all: from ancient history to space exploration, plus cafes, cocktails, culture and countryside… But with so much to do, choices are going to have to be made

Read more
Fri, 09:55

10 of best photos of Hampshire shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Mon, 15:25

Remember, remember… Here’s a quick round up of some stunning displays across Hampshire this year

Read more
Mon, 15:22

The community shop is thriving. Why? And what makes the perfect village store? We went in search…

Read more
Mon, 14:27

From Jane Austen to Karl Marx, our towns and villages have fascinating links to some of the biggest historical celebrities. Viv Micklefield follows in their footsteps with the help of a blue plaque or two

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Our guide to some of the best Halloween events on offer across Hampshire this October

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

We round up 8 things you didn’t know about this little South Downs village

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Enjoy some easy walking around the Lymington to Keyhaven Nature Reserve says Fiona Barltrop

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

Head to the Isle of Wight to enjoy the charming villages of Brighstone and Mottistone, taking in superb views, an ancient monument and enchanting gardens with our new walks writer, Fiona Barltrop

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

With the centenary of the end of World War One commemorated this year, the reopening of the iconic Royal Victoria Chapel, part of our military heritage, is timely

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

This year Winchester’s Theatre Royal celebrates the 40th anniversary of its re-opening as a performance theatre

Read more
Monday, September 17, 2018

Avon Valley, Beer and Cake is the ABC of why Ringwood, a busy market town on the western edge of the New Forest, makes a quirkily clever choice for a break away

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

Lego enthusiast Duncan Titmarsh has built his business brick by brick; from tinkering in his garden shed to internationally acclaimed sculptures

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search