Hedgehogs are one of the UK’s fastest declining mammal species, now classed as vulnerable to extinction, and urban areas have been shown to support particularly important populations. Over two years our Hedgehog Way project brought three urban communities together, in Gloucester and Cheltenham, to improve hedgehog habitat connectivity. The project engaged residents in neighbourhood-scale action to increase linkages for hedgehogs between gardens and green spaces, and tested the effectiveness of widely-used hedgehog holes in increasing hedgehog movement. Residents worked with their neighbours to survey and track hedgehogs and create habitat improvements and hedgehog holes to create hedgehog ways.
Our Hedgehog Way project is now complete, thank you to everyone who has been involved over the two years. Please continue to help hedgehogs in your community, but also pass on information to friends and neighbours.
The final project report can be downloaded from the link below.
Hedgehog Way project report
We are using our knowledge, enthusiasm and understanding of the natural world to provide disadvantaged children and young people from Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS) with opportunities to play, explore and improve their local green spaces and the natural world they find themselves in, in their new home in a new innovative project.
We are running after-school and after-college sessions with nature-based activities to help child refugees and asylum seekers to feel a connection to their new local environment. This will work towards our aims of connecting people with wildlife and engaging everyone, no matter their background, in taking action for nature. This will help the children and young people integrate into their new community as well as help them to build a connection to wildlife and the natural world.
This wonderful project was kindly funded by St James’s Place Charitable Foundation and the Holroyd Foundation. This project completed in December 2019, however we are continuing our engagement with Refugee communities through other projects.
Other Urban projects
There are many other Urban Wildlife engagement projects underway at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. Below is an overview of the variety of work that has taken place in our urban programme over the past 5 years.
Love Your River
Love Your River worked to improve river habitat for wildlife across the county. Projects work with community members and schools to improve engagement, knowledge and skills around the importance of our watercourses. Much of this work is in partnership with the Trust's Living Landscape team. Find out more about their work here.
The Urban Team have been working throughout 2020 to install demonstration rain gardens within the catchment. These will be examples that others can follow in their own gardens and grounds. Rain gardens can help store rain water coming off roofs, and slow it's flow back into rivers reducing flooding. They also help filter and clean water before it goes back to the river and can create nice green, pollinator friendly features in gardens. More information on rain gardens can be found here.
The aim of all of this work is to improve the biodiversity of our rivers, improve river quality and potentially help reduce flooding.
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust's urban team support communities to improve and maintain local green spaces for wildlife. We have been working in Kingsway, Gloucester, since 2018 helping local residents learn about wildlife and enhance habitat. We have been working in partnership with the Kingsway Wildlife and Sustainability Group, find out more about the group here. This project was funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Gloucestershire County Council and Gloucester City Council. This project completed in 2019, however the Kingsway Wildlife and Sustainability group are still running events, volunteer days and a variety of activities to make Kingsway a better place for wildlife.
All Paths Lead to the Hill
Since 2013 the Trust has been working, in partnership with Gloucester City Council, at Robinswood Hill Country Park in Gloucester to improve engagement by local communities with this green space. We have run events, education sessions and volunteer days. Although this project has now finished we continue to run activities at the site, in partnership with the council, and our head office is also based at Robinswood Hill. Activities continue to be funded by Gloucestershire Gateway Trust and we will be launching a new Lottery funded engagement project at Robinswood Hill later in 2020 - Return to the Hill.
Milton Avenue Green Space, in Podsmead
The Trust has been working with the Podsmead (Gloucester) community since 2016 at the Milton Avenue Green Space. This is a great space for wildlife with a balancing pond, small woodland and wet grassland. Surrounded by housing, but full of wildlife, this green space had become overgrown and unloved. Working with the community the Trust has improved habitats, created interpretation features and increased usage by local people. This work continues and is in partnership with Podsmead Big Local.
Read our latest blog about this work.
Nature on Your Doorstep, Gloucester
Our project has been bringing people together in their local communities through shared activity, improving their local area, fostering pride and aid community cohesion by developing connections to each other by bringing nature to the doorsteps of Gloucester’s most deprived areas. We have run public awareness events, to bring the community together to learn about wildflowers and pollinators and how to increase them in their local areas through a range of options for those without gardens; We have run workshops for members of the community of all ages and abilities to work together towards shared community aims to increase access to nature through creating wildflower planter, window boxes and hanging baskets that the residents can take home to bring nature to their doorstep. We created a bee metropolis with homes for solitary bees and wildflower planting in the centre of Gloucester promoting community cohesion and helping the plight of wildflowers and their pollinators. We would like to thank the supporters of the project who included Gloucester City Council, Grow Wild and the Charles Irving Charitable Trust.
Although this project complete in 2019, we will be relocating the bee sculpture from Kings Square in 2020 to make way for the re-development of the area. The bee has now found it's permanent home in the garden of St Mary DeCrypt on Southgate Street in Gloucester city centre. Staff and volunteers at St Mary DeCrypt are working hard to make the garden a wildlife haven for nature and people. The bee is a great new addition and will be a home to visiting insects.