I’ve been reflecting on the purpose of our Urban Nature garden, particularly as Spring awakens. It is a series of 10 plots on St Ann’s Allotments, established nearly 20 years ago as a space to be managed for wildlife.
What does that really mean?
Of course, the whole site is beneficial for nature as it connects with Coppice Park and Sycamore Park to make the second-largest green space in Nottingham.
Managing the Urban Nature garden exclusively for wildlife enhances the whole site by hosting a range of habitats in a relatively small area.
Opportunities for people
It’s about people. We provide a chance for local people to learn about wildlife and to have a direct experience of ‘the wilder side’.
“When people go to Urban Nature, they enter another world, one filled with dedication and focus and uniqueness, telling a particular story or emphasising a particular angle of the site, with different views and perspectives. Urban Nature does this by plunging people into a greater wildness, a warren of paths going deeper and deeper, and further and further away, or perhaps closer and closer to something else — a kind of “wildness” most people simply won’t have experienced before.”
– Richard Arkwright, Community Orchard Project Worker
As time has developed the need has changed, but what Urban Nature offers is consistent shelter, food and nesting.
We strive to reflect the needs of the specific species found on site – for example, if long-tailed tits need bramble patches to nest in, then we will retain controlled areas of bramble. We know we have lots of newts, so we make rubble piles for them to winter in. We support our native bumblebees with a wide range of native wildflowers. We retain a lot of trees which would unduly overshadow a regular veg-growing allotment.
And lots more.
We talk about biodiversity — it’s a well-used word in conservation, and what we mean is a greater variety of species in larger numbers. Any plot-holder or visitor on a Spring Day to St Ann’s Allotments will stand testament to the sheer volume and variety of birdsong, putting any established nature reserve to the test.
Urban Nature feels like a secret garden. A sanctuary to be in nature and not just look at it. The wildness may, at first, feel like a jungle, but I promise you – come and spend some time with me looking at the detail and movement in Urban Nature on a Spring or Summers Day and you’ll leave with a new sense of City wildlife.
Vote for us to win £20,000 from the Severn Trent Community Fund!
A new STAA project at Urban Nature is shortlisted for a Severn Trent Community Fund Gold Award and we need your help to make sure we win it.
The award total is £20,000 to support our ‘Growing Wild’ project which will enhance inner-city green spaces here at St. Anns Allotments. The awards are chosen by public vote and all Severn Trent customers are eligible to take part in the ballot so please click now on www.stwater.co.uk/publicvote and vote for STAA in the Gold category.
Voting closes in 3 weeks so please spread the word and get all your friends and family behind us too!
There’s loads more info on the project page.