Forget the urban jungle – new project turns a Bristol street into a wildlife haven

Tuesday 22nd September 2015

My Wild StreetMy Wild Street

An Easton community are rewriting what it means to be urban this September as one of its streets is being transformed into a space that will let nature thrive. Avon Wildlife Trust have teamed up with leading UK law firm Burges Salmon to create a community project that will bring natural wildlife to our doorsteps with the My Wild Street project.

From today until Friday 2 October 2015, about 100 volunteers from Burges Salmon will work with the Avon Wildlife Trust team and the residents of Stanley Park, Easton, to create an exemplar of a wildlife-friendly urban street.
Engagement with residents has been fantastic, with 27 of the 40 houses on the street signing up to radical makeovers of their front gardens to create wildlife corridors across Bristol as part of the city being European Green Capital 2015, and to make healthier, happy communities.

Each participating household worked with garden designers Earth, Timber, Stone, and Avon Wildlife Trust experts to develop their individual, ideal nature habitats. Features include bug hotels, green roofs on wheelie bins, climber plants and water traps taking into account the sunny and shady conditions of the street.

Over the next two weeks, the street will be worked on daily to transform this part of Easton into a nature-rich community and making it a wildlife corridor, connecting it up with other green spaces locally. It is a wonderful example of Bristol’s enthusiasm for the environment and will give residents creative direction in making their gardens exciting spaces. The project is one of a number happening under the Avon Wildlife Trust's My Wild City initiative, with the vision of turning Bristol into a nature reserve, which is funded by a Bristol 2015 Strategic Grant and by Bristol City Council. 

Volunteers from Burges Salmon, which has provided funding and bought planting and hardware for this project, and is also a key sponsor for Bristol European Green Capital 2015, will be on hand throughout the two weeks to do much of the gardening work that will be required. Each day, three houses will have their turn to introduce plant-life and animal friendly structures such as bug hotels, log piles and bird baths to encourage critters of all shapes and sizes to make the gardens their homes. 

One of the volunteers, Rachel Roberts, Head of Business Solutions at Burges Salmon, commented, “It is exciting to be actively involved in the first My Wild Street project in Easton. We have already seen volunteers getting actively stuck in whether providing project management support, ordering supplies or reclaiming decking to recycle into the project." 

The wildlife haven will put Bristol on the map for its forward-thinking approach to nature in the city, and what it can do to bring urban spaces back to life.

Dr Bevis Watts, CEO, Avon Wildlife Trust explained, “We all recognise the considerable pressures on nature and wildlife in our urban environments, and Bristol is no exception, as one of the fastest growing populations in the UK. And Easton is an ideal place for a creative project like My Wild Street, and the residents have welcomed the opportunity for transformation with enthusiasm. It is hoped this project will put Bristol on the map for the natural world as a destination for wildlife and in recognition as a city aspiring to be nature-rich. We hope this is something that will capture the imaginations of other streets, neighbourhoods and cities, to improve the quality of wildlife habitat in our urban spaces, and to bring nature to the forefront of people’s minds.” 

Members of the public are welcome to come down to Stanley Park throughout the fortnight to witness first-hand the magic of the project. There will also be an open day on Friday 2 October that will provide visitors with an opportunity to learn more about the project and how they can transform their street.

Follow our progress on Twitter using #MyWildCity