A case study of Chippenham Town Council

Wild Landscapes is a specialist team offering a range of services to create, improve or manage green spaces for wildlife and people. They work to maximize biodiversity wherever possible, including private gardens or land, community spaces, parks, roundabouts etc. The team feel that every green space has the potential to offer more for wildlife, and there is no better time as we are facing an ecological crisis. In Britain, private gardens alone account for over 10 million acres, more than all of the country’s nature reserves combined!

Although individual gardens may be small, they create important green links between urban and rural areas, forming vital wildlife corridors. In many Towns and Parishes, smaller pieces of land often exist, providing little benefit or interest to wildlife or people. This is where Wild Landscapes can offer their expertise and skills to support Parish and Town Councils to make improvements. The team work to identify and assess green spaces which could be enhanced or managed differently, potentially saving money on maintenance services. They also work to engage with the local community to create a sense of ownership.

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Wild Landscapes have worked with a number of Parish and Town Councils already, including both short and long term input. A number of Councils have benefitted from ‘one-off’ projects such as the creation of a Pollinator Patch alongside a busy public footpath in Staverton, Trowbridge.

Photo of a roadside meadowPhoto of a roadside meadow

Photo’s taken by Wild Landscapes in summer 2020.

Other short term input has involved undertaking Pre-Ecological Appraisals of public green spaces within towns and villages to identify valuable areas for wildlife. We can also review any existing management plans and make suggestions for improvements. In more urban settings, we creatively look at ways in which biodiversity can be supported, often working alongside local volunteer groups, as was the case with Calne Pop-Up Pocket Park. Calne Pop-Up Pocket Park is a community garden set up and managed completely by volunteers. Fiona Campbell, Chair of the Calne Pocket Park Committee, commissioned us to identify ways to increase biodiversity within the park – they took forward almost all our suggestions and have had a number of pollinators recorded as well as solitary bees making use of the bee posts and planters!

Photo’s taken by Calne Pop-Up Pocket Park volunteers.

Photo’s taken by Calne Pop-Up Pocket Park volunteers.

More recently, Wild Landscapes have been commissioned by Alderbury Parish Council to assess a number of their public green spaces. We have worked to provide a linked network of ‘wildlife hotspots’ around their villages for local residents to engage with and support the development of. A follow-up public engagement session has now led to an overflow of ideas and support for the project, which may see the creation of:

  • a mini-orchard
  • a number of ‘Tiny Forests’ being planted
  • improvements to a number of key wildlife areas.

Watch this space!

From April 2021, Wild Landscapes has become a managing partner at Castle Hill Country Park, Bishopsdown, Salisbury and are responsible for community engagement and volunteering. The park was created as part of a green-space provision following a housing development agreement. The site is leased to The Land Trust by the owners, Laverstock and Ford Parish Council, who we liaise closely with as part of a multi-organisation steering group. Our team is working to identify and support ways to continue to increase biodiversity across the site with the involvement of local volunteer groups.

Chippenham Town Council

Wild Landscapes largest involvement to date has been with Chippenham Town Council. Wild Landscapes were initially commissioned to carry out initial site assessments of five public green spaces, mainly parks, across Chippenham. This involved a preliminary ecological appraisal as well as reviewing any existing management plans. The largest site of which was Monkton Park, a vast open space with the River Avon sweeping along its southern flank, offering a vital wildlife corridor the center of Chippenham town. Our report highlighted a number of ways to increase biodiversity and maximize engagement with nature for local residents and visitors. We worked to support the communication of our findings and suggestions through a series of online consultations which formed the final management plan and development strategy for the site. Wild Landscapes are now working on a 5-year term with Chippenham Town Council to support the ongoing developments and improvement’s across their sites for the benefit of wildlife and people.

Councillor Desna Allen, Chair of Amenities, Culture and Leisure Committee;

This Management Plan will revitalise Monkton Park into a beautiful open space for our residents, a visitor attraction, and educational site but also it supports the Council’s work in declaring a climate emergency and setting up a Climate Emergency Advisory Group which identifies areas on which the Council can improve.

Nick Self of Wild Landscapes, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust:

We are delighted to be working with Chippenham Town Council and its community to develop this plan which will ensure Monkton Park thrives and supports a varied habitat for many years to come.

Alongside these works, we also created a new wildflower meadow on a central roundabout in Chippenham which is just starting to bloom as I type! Keep an eye on our Facebook Page for updates soon -@WiltshireWildLandscapes

Photos by Wild Landscapes in Autumn 2020 – Flowers pending!

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If you would like to get in touch with Wild Landscapes to see how they could support your Parish or Town Council to improve green spaces for wildlife and people,

Email: [email protected]

And give them a follow on Facebook: @WiltshireWildLandscapes

Wild Landscapes