Wildwood, Funday Sunday at Resound Community church Nestbox making workshop at Wildwood, Bristol public-engagement project Dawn chorus walk at Wildwood, Bristol public-engagement project Discovering beetles, bugs and butterflies at Wildwood, Bristol public-engagement project Photographing local wildlife at Wildwood, Bristol public-engagement project Photographing local wildlife at Wildwood, South Gloucestershire public-engagement project Learning about sucessful vegetable growing and wild food at Wildwood, South Gloucestershire public-engagement project


Wildwood – natural neighbours

November 2014 to October 2015

Environmental community engagement project

Wildwood Natural Neighbours, environmental and ecology project for Mangotsfield communtiy, South Gloucestershire


A year-long exploration of the natural environment and ecology that surrounds the new Wildwood development in South Gloucestershire.

The project provided opportunities for new residents, and people living in neighbouring communities, to explore together and discover the amazing variety of life thriving in the nearby park and woodland.

Explorers young and old signed up for a special programme of workshops, walks and events. Naturalist and wildlife detective Ed Drewitt, and fellow experts, helped identify creatures and critters and explained the wonderful workings of the local ecology.

Events took place around Emersons Green Village Park and at Resound Community Church.

What we did

Wild about weather!

Wildwood natural neighbours started in November 2014 with the installation of a community weather station, and lots of weather-related activities at Resound Community Church. Barley Close Primary School and Mangotsfield Secondary also took part in weather workshops exploring the elements and making their own weather measuring instruments.

The new weather station streams data live to the internet where everyone in the community can access it. Wildwood natural neighbours continued into 2015 with a programme of wildlife events.

Boxing clever

17 February

Local families enjoyed a busy February morning assembling nesting boxes and making bird feeders for small birds such as blue tits, wrens and robins. Once the nesting boxes were assembled it was a short walk to nearby woodland around Emersons Green Village Park to position the new homes with the help of a tree ranger. Six new nesting boxes are now ready for our feathered friends to move in and start their families.

Early bird catches the worm

9 April

The spectacular climax of the dawn chorus was reward for a very early start on a chilly April morning. Blackbirds, blue tits, great tits, jays, wood pigeons, dunnocks, robins, finches, sparrows, chiffchaffs and thrushes just some of the birds Ed helped us identify by their song. A glorious way to start the day and celebrate spring.

Calling all critters

26 May

A bright sunny morning in May was perfect for the beetles, bugs and butterflies safari. Explorers young and old turned up eager to discover the world of life in grasses and trees around Emersons Green Village Park. Kitted with sweep nets, observation trays and jars, and with expert guidance from Ed, it wasn’t long before enthusiasm was rewarded. Finds included damsel flies, spiders, shield bugs, butterflies, caterpillars as well as the less common red and black frog hoppers and a fourteen-spotted ladybird. An inspired group headed home at the end of the morning satisfied with their finds and a little more knowledgable about the local ecology.

Photography safari

21 July

Wildlife photographer Iain Green led the way on a glorious morning in July. An enthusiastic group of photographers followed, seeking out opportunities to capture the surrounding wildlife. The diversity of life in and around the trees, grasses, hedgerows and pond of Emersons Green Village Park provided a constant source of inspiration and wonder. With advice and tips from Iain along the way, participants came away with inspired photographs.

The twilight zone

18 August

A night of wild wonder started with a talk and flight demonstration by South Gloucestershire Hawk and Owl Trust. An enthralled audience delighted in the silent flight of a barn owl, a magnificent tawny owl looking on with a superior air and a kestrel steeling the show as it landed on a woman's head.

Ed Drewitt then led the way to woodland on the edge of the Emersons Green Village Park. Out of the darkness we came across lepidopterist, Ray Barnett, with a collection of moths already lured to the bright lights of his moth trap. A wonderful opportunity to learn a little about the characteristics and habits of these exquisite powdery-winged creatures and their essential role in the local ecology. Moths we saw included the Oak Eggar, Old Lady, Magpie, Light Brown Apple Moth and the Ypsolopha sequel.

Further into the darkness and overhead pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle bats revealed themselves with the distinct electronic clicks on the bat detector before we were able to detect them flying along the edges of trees. A truly magical night exploring nocturnal life around Emersons Green Village Park.

A fruitful gathering

20 September

Chris Sunderland set the tone for an informative and inspirational event with an introduction to Real Economy, the Bristol-based initiative working to ‘create a food system that is fair to all’.

Ed Drewitt then led the way to the Dibden Lane allotments. Stopping at hedgerows and trees along the way, Ed identified nature’s bounty and explained the dynamics of the seasonal ecosystem.

We continued on to Chris and Bobbie Sunderland's allotment plot, where we learned about their tried-and-tested growing methods.

We lingered a bit longer enjoying mulled apple juice and spiced apple cake, while admiring the allotments and sharing tips and tricks for an even better harvest next year.

Forget Hollywood it's Wildwood!

30 October

Guests of the film night received a red-carpet welcome from two superstars of the natural world, a barn owl and a kestrel accompanied by Avon Hawk and Owl Trust. Avon Wildlife Trust were on hand to let people know about the important work they do in the local environment.

The headline film, Project Wild Thing, inspired a lively discussion facilitated by Ed Drewitt.

Wildwood - natural neighbours is commissioned by South Gloucestershire Council and Cotswold Homes

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