How to create a nature reserve
Size doesn’t matter in a wildlife reserve, says Anna Guthrie from the Wildlife Trust. Be it a window box or an entire estate, the principles are the same
If you have any size of area in which to create your own nature reserve, there’s a basic formula for success:
Look at how your land links to the wider network of wildlife corridors and important local sites for wildlife. Maybe it borders woodland, which you could help extend by planting similar native trees; or perhaps your neighbour has a species-rich native hedge you could link up to and expand.
Survey your site really thoroughly before you do anything, to find out what lives there already and how it is using the site as it is better to improve and add to habitats that are already there. If you have a pond or area of wetland, make it bigger and better to encourage species like amphibians and water birds to thrive.
Decide on what species it would be realistic to attract to the site and what is already there that could have its population enhanced. It could be a common or a rare species, but it will be important locally.
Draw up a long-term plan which includes maintaining the site and monitoring it. You might create new areas of habitat, restore existing habitats or perhaps leave some areas wild and untouched. Things to include in your plan are new areas of habitat you wish to create, like a wildflower meadow or a pond. Also ask yourself can I improve any existing habitats? or perhaps plan to leave some areas wild and untouched.
Seek expert advice! Your local Wildlife Trust would be a good place to start.