Over the past few weeks I have been busy organising a boat trip down the Tidal Thames to showcase Estuary Edges sites to waterside developers. We boarded the boat at Westminster and disembarked at Greenwich.
“What are the Estuary Edges sites?” I hear you cry.. Well strap in. You’re about to find out.
Replacing the harsh concrete, brick and metal tidal walls with lush green reed beds and a variety of habitats is what the Estuary Edges project is all about. Estuary Edges is a ‘how to’ guide on ecological design for softening these ‘edges’ to encourage wildlife into urban estuaries (fish, plants, invertebrates, birds – the list goes on). Sadly, within the Thames, only around 2% of the edges are natural. Increasing the habitat along the edges will have a significant positive ecological impact on plants, invertebrates, fish and birds.
The boat trip, I’m happy to announce, was a complete success! We had 50 people attend and the boat itself was gurt lush. We were even lucky enough to see a Grey Seal! I have a few upcoming meetings with developers who now have an interest in implementing these awesome habitats – yaaaaay! Blimey I love my job…
Picture this; You’ve finished work at the office. You’re tired. You’re in London and you need fresh air and a jolly good ‘earthing’. By which I mean ground yourself back to nature…. Nothing cheeky…. Naughty.
Well I may have your solution here; Hyde Park I truly believe is not hyped about enough. This is an utterly gorgeous spot, splat bang in the centre of London and a space where wildlife flocks to!
Within half an hour I had spotted Canada geese, Shag (cheeky..), Moorhen and Coot in the bird department (otherwise known as the lake). But the real head turner for me was seeing hundreds (maybe thousands, but you know… Didn’t stop to count!) of honey bees (Apis) busy buzzing around the lambs ear plant (Stachys byzantina) IN CENTRAL LONDON! I was so excited I had to sit down with a cup of tea…
The Royal Parks certainly look after this space and the wildlife appears to be extremely well catered for – which I just love and is so important with a third of all species currently in critical decline.
The walled garden is particularly lovely too, if scented flowers float your boat.
So go and check it out for yourself, if you haven’t already. I’m now beginning to see why London is this month becoming the first ever National Park City.
There we go! A positive post. B.E.A.Utiful.
Hedges and trees shrouded with netting are a visual representation of how we are increasingly squashing precious nature into a smaller and smaller box and how we are forcing it to fit in with our plans that will have devastating consequences.
I really recommend reading this article:
Enough is enough.
I consider myself to be a relatively positive person however, lately all I can think about is how our current actions are seriously detrimental to the worlds natural places. How awful that is. I am certain that if you were to do a poll on how much we value and enjoy our natural spaces, wherever you are in the world, that a majority of us would agree they need protection. Wild places are proven to be incredibly beneficial to both our mental and physical health! So why do we pretermit when it comes to joining hands and efforts and looking after these marvelous habitats? I say habitats because one MUST NOT forget the importance of these spaces to the rest of the worlds inhabitants such as the wildlife that thrives in them. I believe it is crucial at this point in the post to point out the incredible efforts of organisations and individuals who already work tirelessly to protect these habitats. Their work is invaluable. A joined up approach i.e. a collaboration of efforts is going to have to be the way forward in the future, in order to make change.
Air pollution, litter, oil, building, plastic. These are just a few examples of how we are causing harm to the environment. Building I am aware is a risky subject to bring up. Although I am currently living in London, my home is rural Devon, being born and raised there. Over the years I have suffered in seeing the natural spaces I hold so dear to me being unruly destroyed. Housing estates popping up next to the beautifully wild habitats that sit opposite rivers. I do not mean this in any elitist way, for I understand that many people are still suffering without homes and more AFFORDABLE homes are needed. But the homes I see being built everyday in the area I was so privileged to grow up in are by no normal citizen’s means, affordable. Most starting upwards of £350,000. I am also very much aware that Devon is considered a highly desirable place to live, but let me tell you that if all these areas are to be developed as quickly as they currently are being, Devon will not be a desirable place to live. I use Devon as an example, yet I am aware this is happening all over England.
We need/have to act now to make a difference. Species richness across all corners of the UK is in critical decline – 44 million birds have disappeared from the UK countryside since 1966!! Staggering. Frightening.
So what can we individually do to help?
- Build ponds, whether it be a washing up bowl on the patio with rocks in (so the wildlife doesn’t drown), or a big sunken pond in a space you have available. Ponds are possible with or without a garden and are hugely beneficial to numerous species.
- Encourage your local council to stop mowing the wild flower verges and cutting down trees in towns.
- Encourage children to get involved – we need the next generation to put the environment first. Gardening and bug hunts are a great way to get kids involved with nature.
- Build a hedgehog home or bird box!
- Get involved with, or organise your own beach cleans, woodland cleans and clear-ups.
- Campaign! The Wildlife Trusts currently have a #WIlderFuture campaign – link: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wilder-future
If we all work together, we have a chance. So let’s get on with it.
Video I recommend watching (have some tissues present…):
Sorry I’ve been so absent lately… here is a video of what I’ve been up to…
On a more exciting note – I’m currently filming a new set of wildlife videos to be uploaded shortly (woop!) 👍🐛🐌
I know … I know…. these guys are bad for the environment and pushed out our native red squirrels, but you have to agree they’re cute!! They’re so friendly in London compared to Devon squirrels – it’s nuts!… (sorry..) Not my most exhilarating post yet, I agree… but hope is in the air for tomorrow’s post! … Trust me on this one… (crowd goes wild..)
Happy #NationalSealDay – time to celebrate all things about British seals. Did you know that the UK enjoys 40% of the world’s population of grey seals? How bloody cute are these blubbery babas!!! Sadly, seals are considered an issue for aquaculture businesses, particularly in Scotland. Although the government denies a ‘seal cull’, they have licensed the shooting of over 1300 seals!!!….. All smells a bit fishy to me… 😦 Time to further protect these beautiful animals, me thinks.
London Wildlife Challenge day #5
Ok so it’s a bit cliche… When you think of Wildlife in London you think of deer at Richmond Park… So today I headed out to test why this is such a common place for Londoners to head. Needless to say – I get it now… it’s bloody gorgeous! #firsttimeinRichmond!!
London Wildlife Challenge day #4
Today I met with my big sister, Bebe and we headed off to the ‘Queen Elizabeth Hall Rooftop Garden’ situated along the SouthBank. All I can say is I was utterly amazed when I climbed the stairs to find the most beautiful beds of flowers and vegetables and not kept overly neat and tidy – which I loved (and makes it even more of a wildlife haven!) A nice little cafe means you can grab a great coffee too, while you enjoy the abundance of residing insects there. Butterflies, bees and beetles to name a few! In the photos you can see Bebe “rummaging for a bean” – her words not mine… and me cupping some lovely ripe tomatoes…. End of crude jokes.
Seriously though if you’re right in the city centre, go and have a look for this secret, wildlife oasis. It’s a wonderful place.
© Eve Sanders (ToobysTravels)