Sustainable Wantage is working in partnership with Wantage Town Council and local community groups to transform our green spaces. Our aim is to boost local biodiversity – the numbers and types of living things, such as birds, plants and insects – and with your help, make Wantage an even richer, healthier and more beautiful place to live.
By raising the profile of our local green spaces we hope to encourage more people to get involved – caring for and enjoying them.
Whilst we’ve had to adapt our plans during the Covid-19 crisis, there will be lots of ways to get involved, such as:
• Survey local wildlife
• Join in a community bulb, tree or hedge planting event
• Help with green space projects such as The Market Garden
How you can take action at home
Take a look around you; how can the spaces surrounding where you live incorporate more nature? Using our action guides, see what you can do to help improve the biodiversity around you:
• Take action for hedgehogs
• Take action for birds
• Take action for pollinators
• Take action for frogs and toads
• Take action for mammals
• Create wildlife pathways
• Plant a tree!
What is Biodiversity and Why Does it Matter?
Biodiversity is a measure of the variety of plants and animals in an area – generally speaking the greater the variety the healthier the area is. We rely on pollinators for much of our food production and all species have some role to play in the natural processes that give us fresh water, clean air and fertile soil. Greater diversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms.
How are we doing?
There is a lot of concern both internationally and in the UK that biodiversity is declining; the State of Nature in Oxfordshire Report 2017 evidenced those concerns on a local level. No detailed study of the biodiversity of Wantage has taken place, but with much habitat loss due to new housing developments and the extra pressure that places on our green spaces, we are unlikely to be bucking national trends.
Declining species in the area
We are lucky in that we are surrounded by countryside, close to the Ridgeway and have Letcombe Brook, a rare chalk stream running through the town. Populations of now quite uncommon farmland birds such as the grey partridge, yellowhammer and corn bunting can still be seen on the edge of Wantage. Protected species such as the otter and water vole inhabit the Letcombe Brook and a few swallows and swifts still return each year to nest on buildings in Wantage. However, once common species like grass snake, common lizard and many butterfly and bee species continue to decline. White clawed crayfish, wall butterfly and quite probably the adder are now thought to be lost in this area.
What we can all do about it
Wild Wantage aims to change things – with your help. Populations of bees and butterflies can be boosted by increasing the number of flowering plants in our green spaces and gardens. Populations of hedgehogs and other mammals plus frogs, toads and newts, will benefit from areas left wild and extra ponds being created. Extending hedging and increasing our tree cover will provide homes, food and shelter for both farmland, woodland and garden birds. We don’t have to give up our green spaces, just make them richer for both us and the wildlife we share them with.
Thank you for your support. Please follow our Sustainable Wantage Facebook page to hear about the latest news and events, and to access lots of useful info about supporting Wild Wantage.
Thank you to Wantage Town Council for sponsoring this project.
Wild Wantage images ©Mark Bradfield / Lucy Duerdoth