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Wild Wantage

There is a lot of concern nationally about the decline in biodiversity and the destruction of local habitats. Building developments, unsustainable land practices and climate change are putting an increasing strain on our wildlife, green spaces and resources. But as a community we can take action to change things for the better!

Sustainable Wantage, with the help of Wantage Town Council, launched the Wild Wantage Project in 2020. Since then we have been working to improve local biodiversity, map green corridors and transform our green spaces through volunteer action. Wild Wantage has already worked with local schools, landowners, businesses and organisations to plant trees and hedges, renovate gardens, survey species and engage with the local community to improve their environment.

We’re currently doing a Biodiversity Baseline Survey to map what wildlife we have in Wantage and Grove, find out more and get involved here.

Why we are taking action
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.

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 such as grass snake, common lizard and Wall butterfly are either declining or lost in this area.

Since the end of the Second World War our landscape has changed drastically. The removal of hedges, trees and wildflower meadows; large scale building projects and housing developments; industrial farming techniques; and the increasing effects of climate change have had an extremely negative effect on our wildlife and landscape. The Oxfordshire area, for example, has only 4% tree cover, making it one of the lowest ranking nationally – but there are things we as a community can do, to make Wantage Wilder again!

What you can do to help
There are many ways to help out with Wild Wantage: from practical volunteering and surveying local species to taking action at home and gardening for wildlife
Volunteering, events and workshops: We often hold a mix of practical volunteer work parties, along with both indoor and outdoor activities and workshops. To find out what’s coming up, visit our Events page.

Taking action at home
There are many ways in which you can take action to help our local wildlife and green spaces – a great place to start is at home! Wildlife gardening can greatly benefit our local birds, mammals, insects and pollinators, along with helping to create green corridors through the local area. Why not treat your garden like a mini nature reserve?
Follow these links below to find out more and how to take action:
Wildlife gardening
Take action for hedgehogs
– Take action for birds
– Take action for pollinators
Take action for frogs and toads
Take action for mammals
Help link up our wildlife network
Plant a tree
Species identification, recording and further information