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Nature loves the natural. Leaving some wild areas provides habitat for small animals that start the food chain

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Open a chain of hotels Bird and bat boxes, hedgehog houses, b&bs for bees. House sparrows, blue tits will use nest boxes on house walls, fences and trees. House martin cups and swift boxes are best placed out of direct sunlight under the eaves 5m from the ground

Grow climbing plants up your house walls – keep cooler in summer and warmer in winter as well as offering vertical habitats and nesting places

Make stone and log piles 20% of all insects live in dead wood. They give food & shelter for busy beetles, as well as toads and newts

Provide drinking water and shallow baths for the birds and other creatures. Hang up a bird feeder, clean it often. The greensand soil at the top of the hill doesn’t retain water, unlike the clay soils of the Blackmore Vale below, so it is important to provide water for wildlife here

Plant fruit and nut trees, flowering shrubs with berries. Share a tenth (tithe) of your produce from apples to currants with creatures great and small Take care of mature trees in your garden and street - they are important for shade, carbon capture and as habitats. Trees become increasingly useful to wildlife the older they become

Ensure small creatures can move from your garden to the next. Encourage neighbours to help hedgehogs roam up to 2km a night: make 13 x 13cm holes at the base of walls, fences or gates

Give up pesticides, herbicides, slug pellets and artificial fertilisers. Relax, let nature do the work for you! Hedgehogs will enjoy the earwigs and slugs

Keep glow-worms glowing, moths and bats flying. Turn off your outside lights at night to help migratory birds to navigate and us all to enjoy the stars

Get behind the hedge They provide shelter, absorb vehicle pollution, offer nesting places, blossom and fruit for wildlife and feasts for our eyes

Bring colour in Plants that will bloom across the year for butterflies, moths and other insect pollinators. Ivy flowers very late -September/October and blackbirds enjoy tardy February berries

Create a pondTop up with rainwater from your roof – for frogs, toads, newts, dragonflies etc. Beware no fish.... or small children

Enjoy the quiet of No Mow May! Park the lawnmower for a while: welcome the wild flowers and listen to the grasshoppers. Check for slow-worms, hedgehogs, frogs and other creatures before strimming or mowing Let some of your garden go wild Daisies, buttercups, forget-me-nots, clovers and mixed grasses. Dandelion flowers are an important early food source for bumblebees and butterflies

Look after your soil It is full of life. Worms are especially precious workers as well as feeding birds and hedgehogs. Use vegetable peelings and tea leaves on a compost heap and help make new soil. Never use peat

The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries inthe world.Nature needs our help – desperately

© Sustainable Shaftesbury 2023Illustrations: Gary Cook 2023With thanks to Shaftesbury Town Council

Links to more information about wildlife gardening

The Royal Horticultural Society

Underhill Nature Reserve How to rewild manual

Springwatch Open University

Sustainable Shaftesbury, Shaftesbury Town Council