We regard ourselves as extremely fortunate to live and work in somewhere as spectacular as the Dartmoor National Park. It is rather difficult not to be consumed by the nature that surrounds us and, taking this into account, we follow the RSPB’s guidelines on creating a wildlife-friendly garden.
The wildlife garden was created in 2010. You will find our lawn is not neatly cropped and fertilised – this is not good for birds or mammals – so we trim the lawn short at the beginning of the season then, from May onwards, we only trim the centre leaving the edges and sloping bank to to grow naturally.
The short grass area is ideal for birds to feed and the long grass areas provides seeds and habitat for insects and their larvae but also, crucially, cover for slow worms and other mammals. One really unexpected but delightful result is the range of wildflowers and clovers we now have growing every year that neither of us, have seen since we have walked through wild meadows in our youth. Then, in September, we rake off any hay or dry grass but leave the long grass until the following March/April to begin the cycle again...
By taking our garden down this route we have seen many fascinating visitors to our garden some plentiful, others rare or endangered. We have foxes, hedgehogs, pygmy shrews, bank voles and over 25 different varieties of bird that we can identify paying us a visit, including a great spotted woodpecker, sparrow hawk and song thrushes to name a few.
Our biggest success story has to be our hedgehogs. While the species is in steep decline, we are delighted to have encouraged a great many hedgehogs to visit and we provide plenty of food to encourage them. This year we have had whole families of hedgehogs visiting, and it has been a joy to see and one that our guests have really enjoyed too.
Our garden is not exclusively for wild life, humans are welcome to sit back our terrace and enjoy the view and the antics of the varied visitors to our garden!