A walk on the wild side…in Bath

When we think of nature we tend to automatically think of rolling countryside, wonderful woodlands, stunning coastline or nature reserves. Much of the wildlife that features on telly tends to be in the beautiful British countryside. Quite rightly we focus on some of the special and amazing nature that calls the country home.

And yet we could be missing a trick. Nature can be found everywhere. Often in the most unusual places. Wildlife has an ability to find new homes and of adapting to new places. If wildlife feels threatened or has a lack of food sources then it has a tendency to be able to move into villages, towns and cities.

As soon as you open your front door its likely that you’ll come into contact with nature. Eighty per cent of us in the UK now live in urban areas. And yet we are in danger of missing the amazing nature that also calls the places that we call home.

A weed in the crack of a pavement, lichen found on a walk, blackbirds and their cheery tunes, cabbage whites flittering between gardens and celandines in green spaces. They might not be sexy species but its still nature that we can enjoy, celebrate and want more of where we live. Abandoned industrial spaces, grass verges, roundabouts, parks, lanes linking roads: there are all ideal habitats for nature to flourish.

At the back of our garden there is a lane that runs for several hundred metres. Its often over-grown and allows people to get to where their cars are parked. But this is an idea corridor for nature to move around; the flowers grow there thanks to the distribution system of bird poo, mammals are likely to scamper up and down this pathway in the twilight hours. Shrubs, small trees, grasses; they’re all fantastic places for ladybirds, spiders and beetles to flourish.

Last year I often saw buzzards soaring high above our garden. The swallows have started arriving signalling the slow march from spring to summer. And the occasional owl can be heard hooting on a clear and still night.

Taking the time to look and listen shines a new light on where you live. We need to remember the importance of urban gardens as habitats for song birds. That small parcels of woodland provide deadwood for insects. And that we need nature in our daily lives to recharge our batteries; and that you don’t need to travel deep into the countryside to find a wonder of wildlife.

I’ll be helping to leading a wildlife walk around Fairfield Park in Bath on Sunday 4 May starting at 2pm outside the Fairfield Arms.

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