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Newbury Nature Corridor 

The Newbury Nature Corridor project is an extension of the Lockdown Woods environmental work, and will link two of the Lockdown Woods in Newbury via a Nature Corridor. We have planted over 2000 native trees in five commemorative community woodlands in West Berkshire since winter 2020, many dedicated to the memory of people lost in the COVID pandemic. The group actively manages these areas with volunteer groups.

The Lockdown Woods in Goldwell Park and Barn Crescent, 2.5 miles apart by foot, will be connected through this initiative. The route between them includes significant landmarks such as the Kennet and Avon canal, City Recreation Ground, St Bartholomew’s school, and the John Rankin schools, as well as residential streets with gardens and wide verges. The area includes nine sites managed by Newbury Town Council, and passes through Town Council wards Speenhamland, Westfields, and Wash Common.

The project started in the autumn of 2023, with visits to both schools and great enthusiasm from them to participate. To date, £10,000 in funding from Newbury Town Council and Greenham Trust has been raised for the restoration of the educational ponds at the John Rankin schools.  A similar application is in progress to restore the wildlife garden educational area and pond at St Bartholomew’s school. The school has established an after-school group called ‘Ecology in Action’ to develop aspects of the project which appeal to the pupils involved. Newbury FoE has also received £600 from Veolia for the initial year of the project.

Newbury Nature Corridor launch event, May 2024

A large group of local residents, school children, town and district councillors and naturalists came together on Saturday 4 May to walk along the route of the new Nature Corridor in south Newbury.
A gathering of 70 people walked the 2.5 miles between the Lockdown Wood in Barn Crescent field and its counterpart in Goldwell Park.  They called in at John Rankin schools’ grounds and St Bartholomew’s secondary school on the way to hear about the restoration work of their three ponds planned and funded as part of this project.  
Attendees were invited by Dr Susan Millington, event organiser, to “imagine you are a hedgehog or a frog, a bee or a butterfly as you walk this morning and think what you would like to see here.”

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Photo credits:  Image 1 Lucie Robinson; Images 2 & 3 Richard Harrison

Do you live in the Newbury Nature Corridor?

Would you like to join us in helping nature?

Here are some ideas:

  • Encourage pollinators by joining ‘No mow May’ and even ‘Too soon June’
     

  • Make hedgehog holes in your fences 15 x15cm giving them freedom to forage (up to 2 miles each night)
     

  • Grow climbers up walls and fences so non-flying insects can easily move around
     

  • Plant wildflower meadows – could be in pots or your lawn or a small area in your garden

  • Create a garden pond
     

  •  Plant trees and shrubs if you have space

🌼 Contact us if you are interested: We can provide free seeds (e.g. foxglove, yellow rattle, wildflower mixes) and specially designed surrounds to keep your hedgehog holes intact.

By capturing people’s imagination with the bold idea of linking two existing nature sites in town, we aim to encourage residents to take action to support local wildlife.  Work with the relevant local councils to improve open spaces and verges for wildlife along the route is also key to the success of this project. This will all enhance biodiversity in the project area.


We hope this project will involve many residents and children, teaching a love of nature and giving skills to care for their environment.  Newbury Friends of the Earth is also reaching out to local scout, church and other community groups to widen participation.


Ideally, this will become a rolling and expanding project to improve the environment of the whole of Newbury, perhaps creating a more widespread ‘Newbury Nature Zone!’  We already know of two new Nature Corridors being planned locally as a result of our project!

 

Resources

📻 Hear all about it!

 

Ray Wilton interviews Susan Millington on Kennet Radio

Mixcloud archive | 1 June 2024 (1.00pm- 1.20pm on their timeline)

Penny Locke interviews Susan Millington on 4legsradio

Mixcloud archive | 4 May 2024

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