Saving wildlife & biodiversity Long Ashton & Leigh Woods style
When reports of plummeting wildlife populations hit the headlines, Long Ashton Parish Council declared a Biodiversity Emergency in our community. Now the Government has set a national target to increase space for nature by 30% and nationally, gardeners, landowners, farmers and councils are turning words into action. For Long Ashton & Leigh Woods, this is an exciting challenge.
The hope is that as many people as possible within the parish will embrace the concept of increasing their capacity to help wildlife. To start the ball rolling, the Parish Council has developed an initiative called Biodiversity: Every Garden Counts. Making gardens wildlife-friendly isn't a new concept but has gathered more momentum in recent years. Some people in Long Ashton already have wildlife-friendly gardens or have turned their whole front gardens into a wild patch; others are nurturing patches of ox-eye daisies in verges. Even the smallest changes to green spaces can add up, over time, to significant positive impacts.
The Parish Council's new website will include an environmental section to pull together different suggestions and ways we can all help wildlife. Meantime, more help can be found on the National Trust and Avon Wildlife Trust webpages.
Finally, Long Ashton Nature, Community & Environment Trust (LANCET) is a working group already liaising with some key local landowners in the parish to increase biodiversity on their land. Once up and running, the support of many people within the parish will be key so please keep an eye out for its launch.
If everyone does what they can, within a year or two, we could create wildlife corridors to join up reserves such as Tyntesfield and Ashton Court. If we achieve this, we may all be able to see a change within our much-loved community that will make our lives brighter, benefit wildlife and leave the world a better place for future generations to come.
Could you do something and make your garden count?
Here are some top tips that you may not have thought of before and might share with neighbours:
- Add water – if not a pond, then an old washing up bowl will do but make sure creatures can get in and out of the container easily. Without this, bees can drown
- Avoid using pesticides, herbicides, slug pellets and peat
- Create a mini-meadow by leaving a section of grass un-mown. And maybe seed it with some 'wildflower bombs'
- Leave a wild/untidy/unweeded corner for nettles and other vigorous wild plants
- Build a beetle bucket, beetle bank or dead hedge in your garden and register it at Wild About Gardens to show how the parish is doing
- Provide homes for wildlife – eg bird boxes, bug hotels or a log/stick pile