There are many actions you can take to make your garden, of any size, that wildlife will love. Please visit our Wildlife Gardening Page.
Grounds of a premises, school or business
Is it yours, or do you have permission from the land owner? Great. If the grounds are relatively small and you want to enhance them yourselves, you could start by reviewing the advice in the Wildlife Gardening Page. Read on for more advice for doing it yourself.
If the grounds are large, you may want to consider buying in professional time from our consultancy Wildscapes who can provide you with ecological advice, a management plan and making the changes on the ground – or some of those elements if you want to do some yourself.
Local green space
Do you know who owns the green space? It may be a Parks & Countryside or Housing department of Sheffield or Rotherham Council. Find contact details below:
Things to consider before creating a meadow or sowing wildflowers
First of all – what grassland do you already have? Can you let it grow with reduced or no mowing if you are not sure? You may be surprised what is there if allowed to grow.
Are you considering a meadow – a mix of perennial wild grasses and wild flower seed or just wildflowers – perhaps more suited to a pot or flower bed?
What soil do you have?
How will the wildflowers or meadow be managed?
For more on these questions – follow the link at the end of this section.
Are you planning on managing the whole area as a meadow or wildflower area? Or might you consider other habitats and wildlife features.
Structural diversity is to be encouraged– any enhancements that bring different heights of vegetation into a site will provide microclimates for invertebrates as well as a diversity of plant species. And don’t forget scrub and hedgerows which also support birds and small mammals.
Thinking of planting trees? Is this the right place for trees, or is it already a good quality habitat? It might be, but if you are not sure, please seek advice from us. There are a number of tree planting initiatives potentially available through Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust and/ or partner organisations. Please contact us for more information as initiatives change quickly.
Have you thought about a pond? Check out information on ponds and other small features that can be introduced on the wildlife gardening page.
Choose native, perennial seeds if you can from a reputable supplier. 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, so you could help local grasslands to recover. 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. Both natives and non-natives support invertebrates, including pollinators, however native plants and invertebrates have co-evolved and native plants support all life stages of a wide range of invertebrates. Suggested local native plant species can be found here.
If you are buying wildlflower 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. How 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 several 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 get involved in supporting the planting and care of new young trees, influencing the location where new street trees might be planted, and species selection. 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
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. Insect numbers are also thought to be contributing to the decline of this species, so doing things like planting wildflowers for pollinators, increasing areas of wildflower planting and stopping the use of pesticides will all benefit the food source for 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.
Still have questions?
Contact us via email@example.com or 0114 2634335