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Ideas on how the Sid Valley can enhance its biodiversity

  • by JW

Educate and collaborate!

Let wildlife move uninhibited through your garden!


Earlier this month, a new group dedicated to helping wildlife was formally set up:

Launch of Sid Valley Biodiversity Group – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And as part of that, a series of talks were put on:

How can the Sid Valley enhance its biodiversity over the next decade? – Vision Group for Sidmouth


Here’s the full report of that event from the Group – as posted by the Herald:


Sid Valley Biodiversity Group hears the importance of setting goals and measuring progress

The newly-formed Sid Valley Biodiversity Group were very excited to have two speakers to give their views about how to achieve biodiversity in our gardens and landscapes.

Organised by the Vision Group for Sidmouth and hosted by the Science Festival’s Café Scientifique through Zoom, our first talk, on Tuesday, July 16, was by horticulturalist and lecturer Rupert Bannister.

Wild flower patches in your garden are good for wildlife. Picture: Rupert Bannister

He set out the challenges we have ahead. He explained that a species-rich, well established hedgerow, where there is a web of interconnected organisms all living together, we have a prime example of biodiversity. It is the large pool of genetic material that helps to create resilience in our natural world in these times of climate change.

Rupert’s advice to gardeners

• Don’t be too tidy

• Allow different parts of your garden to merge together

• Let wildlife move uninhibited through your garden

• Chaos is good!

The second speaker, Sam Bridgewater, is the wildlife and conservation officer for Clinton Devon Estates, our neighbours in the Otter Valley. His concerns are on a larger scale; how to create and maintain biodiversity in our farming landscape. He highlighted that the main problems that we face are disappearing and fragmented habitat. Like Rupert Bannister, he highlighted hedgerows as having a particularly important part to play through the linking of landscapes.

One of his fascinating initiatives is to develop the interconnectedness of habitats in the Lower Otter Valley, which he likened to a rewilding project. Sam also discussed national policy. Although he was generally optimistic about this, he felt that it would benefit from a more thought-through approach. The example he gave was the subsidies given for growing maize because of its value as a bio-fuel. This caused problems at harvest time due to run-off from the fields into nearby rivers and streams.

Sam stressed the importance of educating people about the need for biodiversity and gave our group some sound advice: be brave, set goals that are realistic and incremental, measure your progress, collaborate widely and lastly celebrate your success.

Anyone interested in getting involved or hearing future talks should contact the biodiversity group at


Sid Valley Biodiversity Group report: talk on gardens and landscapes | Sidmouth Herald