Please visit our Wildlife Gardening Page.
Grounds of a premises, school or business
If the grounds are relatively small, you could start by taking a look at the Wildlife Gardening Page. Don’t forget to get permission from the landowner before making any changes.
If the grounds are large, you may want to consider buying in professional services from our consultancy Wildscapes. They can provide you with ecological advice, a management plan and make changes on the ground.
How to: Choose plants for wildlife gardening – Recommendations for plants and other resources to make your garden a haven for people and wildlife. With thanks to Ben Keywood (Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust and entomologist) and Fran Halsall (Garden Services Manager at Regather Cooperative and Nature Educator at Naturally Focused) for the use of these lists.
Local green space
Do you know who owns the green space? It may be Sheffield City Council or Rotherham Borough Council. Find contact details below:
Sheffield City Council: Parksandcountryside@sheffield.gov.uk or 0114 2500500
Rotherham Borough Council: Green Spaces Department
There may also be an existing Local or Friends of Group in Sheffield or Rotherham associated with the Green space.
Things to consider before creating a meadow or sowing wildflowers
Did you know? Sheffield and Rotherham have lost most of their species-rich grasslands – for example, Sheffield has lost over 75% of its local biodiverse grasslands since 1980’s. You can help reverse this trend by letting grasslands grow wild again.
🌼You can let existing grassland grow with reduced or no mowing – you may be surprised to see how many different kinds of flowers are already there if they’re allowed to grow.
🌼You can create a traditional meadow, or sow a wildflower mix instead. A meadow is “a mix of perennial wild grasses and wild flower seed”, while plant pots and flower bed are perfect for a wildflower seed mix.
🌼Find out what kind of soil you have, for best results.
🌼Consider how the wildflowers or meadow will be managed over time
🌼What other habitats and wildlife features can you create alongside your meadow or wildflower beds?
Top tip: Aim for “structural diversity” – different heights of vegetation. This provides microclimates for invertebrates as well as a diversity of plant species. Don’t forget scrub and hedgerows, which also support birds and small mammals.
Top tip: Choose native, perennial seeds from a reputable supplier. Native perennial flowers and grasses will not have such a long colourful flowering season compared with a mixture of non-native species (e.g. Pictorial Meadow which are sometimes chosen for city-centre projects for example), but still look fabulous in early summer. Annuals give a more immediate flash of colour but will need to be re-seeded every year.
Top tip: Both native and non-native species support invertebrates, including pollinators. However, native plants and invertebrates have evolved side by side, and native plants support these invertebrates at all stages of their life cycle. Suggested local native plant species can be found here.
If you are buying wildflower seed, be careful where you are sourcing it from – particularly if you are wanting just native wildflowers, as the provenance is not always clear. We recommend Emorsgate or Naturescape. For more suppliers of useful enhancements to your greenspace see SRWT Good practice enhancements for biodiversity in developments.
Follow this link to learn how to create your meadow or wild patch.
Road verges can be remnants of original habitat or created as new habitats in the urban environment. They are linear habitats which can connect other larger areas of habitat as part of ecological networks. The way they are managed can have a big impact on the diversity of plants, invertebrates and other wildlife that they can support.
Most road verges are the responsibility of the Local Authority – except for major trunk roads which are managed by Highways England. Due to health and safety considerations and the location of underground infrastructure, permission must be sought to plant anything in the road verge.
Rotherham road verges
See here for how to apply for permission to plant in a road verge in Rotherham.
You will also find information about Rotherham Council’s grass cutting schedule and the pictorial meadows planting on the A630 on this page.
Sheffield road verges
In Sheffield, most road verges are managed by Amey on behalf of Sheffield City Council as part of the Streets Ahead contract.
Sheffield City Council are still looking to introduce a process to permit wildflower planting and maintenance by residents, as yet the process has not been finalised. In the meantime, any requests should be made to email@example.com.
From 2015-2019 Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust collaborated with Streets Ahead and the University of Sheffield on the Sheffield Living Highways Project. You can find out about achievements and lessons learnt here.
Want to know more about managing road verges for wildlife?
Please visit here where you can find advice and case studies from across the Wildlife Trust movement and download the Best Practice Guide to Managing Road Verges.
You can also read the proceedings from the Road Verge Symposium 2019 organised by Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust Butterfly Conservation and Natural England, here.
Information from Sheffield City Council about managing and looking after street trees can be found here. Sheffield also have volunteer Street Tree Wardens across the city who champion street trees in their local ‘patch’. They are the eyes and ears on the ground that help the council monitor the health of existing street trees. Street Tree Wardens can support the planting and care of new young trees, influence the location where new street trees might be planted, and help select species. Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of 30 hours per year to the role.
Rotherham MBC have made it easier for people to get advice on trees, with one email address to contact them on: firstname.lastname@example.org
🌳RMBC website – apply to work on protected trees
🌳RMBC website – tree maintenance
Helping declining species
Hedgehogs used to be a common sight in the UK’s gardens and hedgerows but as you may be aware, an estimated 30% of the population has disappeared over the last decade and it is thought there may be fewer than one million hedgehogs left. However, the good news is there are things you can take to help them – and the results of the latest findings suggest populations are stabilizing where this action has been taking place.
As with so many species declines, habitat loss is understood to be one of the major causes. But there are relatively small actions you can take to increase and improve local habitats for hedgehog.
Making a hedgehog house is one way you can encourage hedgehogs onto your garden or green space. You can also create hedgehog holes in any surrounding fences or barriers between sites to allow hedgehogs to freely move through local habitats and increase their range.
You can also report hedgehog sightings via our Nature Counts recording page to help conservation efforts.
The sight of swifts screeching and wheeling over roofs in the sky is a much-loved herald of summer, but sadly their numbers have declined by over 50% over the past decade. One of the things you can do to help is to install swift nest boxes on your homes, businesses, schools and other buildings.
Swifts feed on insects. The decline in insect numbers is thought to be contributing to the swifts’ plight, so taking action like planting pollinator-friendly wildflowers and stopping the use of pesticides will benefit swifts. Click here to find out more about swifts and local swift groups to contact about installing a nest box and other actions you can take to help.
Contact us via email@example.com or 0114 2634335