Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes have teamed up with long-term partner the RSPB to offer tips to people across Wiltshire on bringing wildlife closer to home as the lockdown is eased but set to continue.
With the majority of us remaining at home, combined with a dramatic reduction in road traffic, many people are discovering the amazing wildlife on our doorsteps, and how important our gardens, balconies and outdoor spaces are, particularly in urban areas.
The RSPB, the UK's largest conservation charity, has worked with Barratt and David Wilson Homes to offer residents a practical guide to creating wildlife friendly areas, not only in gardens, but in smaller outdoor spots too, such as doorsteps, windowsills and balconies.
A wildlife-friendly garden is currently under construction at Canalside, Wichelstowe (from Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes) the new community on the edge of Swindon, which it is hoped will be given an RSPB Gold award for wildlife friendly features similar to those at the Gold-awarded Ladden Garden Village by David Wilson Homes and Ladden Garden Village, Barratt Homes in neighbouring Gloucestershire. The show gardensinclude a hedgehog highway, bird boxes and baths, a bug hotel, lavender hedges for bees and butterflies and a raised pond with child-safe grid.
- Provide food - much of which comes from plants. Select plants rich in pollen and nectar such as lavender, native honeysuckle, wallflower and summer jasmine and offer a variety of shrubs, climbers, flowers, grass and trees
- Provide water - the single most wildlife rich home you can offer in anything from an upturned dustbin lid or old sink to a bird bath or full-sized wildlife pond
- Provide shelter - in the form of plants and shrubs but also log piles and nesting boxes for birds, bats, bees and hedgehogs. All can be bought ready-made but the Barratt RSPB Garden Guide includes lots of advice on making your own
- Create a wildflower meadow on a windowsill -flowers such as corn marigold, cornflower, corn cockle and poppy will provide food for beneficial insects as well as birds. They can be grown in tubs adding a splash of colour and a welcome wildlife rest-stop to even the smallest of spaces
- Plant up seasonal hanging baskets and pots - choose plants that are attractive to wildlife and try to include some native varieties. Include some plants that flower early and late and insects will visit in spring and autumn as well as summer. Experiment with marigolds, verbena, fuchsias, heathers, dead-nettles, ivy and nasturtiums.
Barratt Developments, owner of Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes, aims to be the leading national sustainable housebuilder. Through its partnership with the RSPB, launched in 2014, the company seeks to design and landscape its developments and green spaces in an ecological and nature-friendly way. The five star developer runs a nationwide programme to create RSPB approved wildlife-friendly gardens for its show homes.
Chris Burton, West regional managing director, Barratt Developments Plc said: "With both the pace and place of life massively changed due to the current lockdown, combined with the arrival of spring, lots of us are watching wildlife like never before. So we're delighted to be able to continue this work by sharing some simple tips on giving nature a home with all of our customers, whether you're living in urban apartments, town houses or semi-rural developments."
"Through our long-standing partnership with the RSPB, the UK's largest conservation charity, we have made it our mission to improve the way in which nature and wildlife are incorporated into our new communities. So we're delighted to be able to continue this work by sharing some simple tips on giving nature a home with all of our customers, whether you're living in urban apartments, town houses or semi-rural developments."
Mey Duek, RSPB wildlife expert added: "For many of us taking a few moments to enjoy the natural world and discover the wildlife we share our neighbourhoods with has offered an escape from the news. Whether it is watching birds out of the window or hearing their songs from your garden there is no question that it is relaxing to enjoy nature. And studies have shown that this is good for both our physical and mental health.
"Unfortunately the UK's wildlife is disappearing, but our gardens can help reverse this. If you have been enjoying the sights and sounds of our birds and insects or have noticed wildlife is less common than you remember, you can help. We have worked with Barratt Homes to produce a simple guide to wildlife friendly gardening, along with tips and ideas for everyone whether you have a garden or window box. You do not need a big garden or lots of money to do this, and you will be helping the birds in your area."
Bringing Your Garden to Life is available to download here: