How it Started

How it Started

In the spring of 2014, a group of Ivy Estate residents, had an idea about creating some form of meeting area for all the community. After much thinking and revising of this idea they managed to get Green Square and Sovereign Housing interested and a meeting was planned together with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) on a small, grassed area on the estate, surrounded by trees and well used paths. As a result of this first meeting the idea of a wildlife garden was started.

In late April WWT supplied some pre-cut planks of wood which were assembled into raised planting beds. A few residents helped lift up turfs of grass to enable this. These raised beds were soon filled with soil and planted with an array of colourful plants. The whole area was very overgrown with brambles, prickly bushes etc., which were cut back to provide a sheltered area, but not so much as to affect the local wildlife. A nearby 500-year-old oak tree was being pruned and the contractors willingly gave up the resulting wood chips. These were used to make a more attractive sheltered area and one of the branches from the tree was used to make a sign for the garden. Soon bird nest boxes appeared, and hedgehog friendly areas were created along with a designated area for small reptiles.

A local loft conversion company noticed the work taking place and offered some offcuts of timber which would normally end up as landfill. From these offcuts a picnic style table was made + a half size one for children. With the left-over wood a storage box was made to keep bird feed in + a small compost bin. Soon a bird table was made as well as number of nest boxes. An increase of bird life has been noticed including a very friendly robin, some tits, and blackbirds. Hedgehogs have been seen, along with a family of squirrels. Wildlife cameras have revealed badgers and foxes visiting at night.

The garden is registered with local animal rescue charities and is a release area for hedgehogs. A fenced pond has been created and frog spawn has been donated from the wider community.

This project is growing beyond anything envisaged back in 2014, and it is amazing what can be achieved when a small number of enthusiastic people give of their time and energy. More is planned and the garden is becoming a focus of interest to the whole estate. All it needs is this interest to be channelled into ideas and construction. To all in the area please use the garden just to sit and pause for a short while either in the sun or the more sheltered areas. The children will love the small animal ornaments dotted around. Wood-chip paths allow access to all of the garden, Salads, fruit, and vegetables are grown and the produce offered freely to anyone asking.

This project benefits all residents living on the Ivy Estate and surrounding areas. The estate consists of 350 dwellings, the majority of which are flats lacking their own garden which makes the Ivy Wildlife Garden very much appreciated by all of the community.

The green spaces we have in our area therefore make an important contribution towards the health & welfare of the residents. As well as benefitting the local community, the garden is used by child organisations and preschools who visit regularly. Halloween and Christmas sees the garden lit up as well and decorated. Father Christmas pays a visit and brings gifts for the children. The garden has been running of goodwill and donations since its inception and in this time, we have been rewarded by seeing the community of all ages using the garden on a regular basis.