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Newbury Nature Corridor 

The new Nature Corridor project, an extension of the Lockdown Woods environmental work, aims to link two of the Lockdown Woods in Newbury via a ‘Nature Corridor.’

 

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.

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Photo credits:  Richard Harrison

 

This project builds upon the efforts of Newbury Friends of the Earth, who have been working on the Lockdown Woods project since spring 2020. They have planted over 2000 native trees in five commemorative community woodlands in West Berkshire, many dedicated to the memory of people lost in the COVID pandemic. The group actively manages these areas with volunteer groups. The route passes through Town Council wards Speenhamland, Westfields, and Wash Common.

The project started in autumn 2023, with visits to both schools, and great enthusiasm from them to participate. To date, £10,000 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 project.

The project will reach out to householders along the 2.5-mile route, informing them of easy steps they can take in their own gardens to help nature thrive there and to improve opportunities for wildlife to migrate between neighbouring gardens. There will be opportunities to create habitats for wildlife eg wildflower meadows, bird and bat boxes, insect hotels, log piles, new ponds, hedges and trees etc. By capturing the imagination with the ambition to link two existing nature sites in town, we hope this will 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 will also be 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. 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!’

Planning walk — Susan Millington, Helen Beard and Graham Forde in the City Recreation Ground (NTC land within the Corridor).

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