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Urban rewilding

  • by JW

“Now, people are getting excited about local nature, where they live or can walk or cycle to. People are starting to celebrate and understand the nature close to where they are.”


There are more and more projects where people are able to enjoy wildlife and green spaces on their doorstep – even if they don’t live in the heart of the country:

Urban rewilding in Devon – Vision Group for Sidmouth


We can, of course, enjoy a bit more nature in our own gardens:

Rewilding at home – Vision Group for Sidmouth

A guide to rewilding your backyard – Vision Group for Sidmouth


But there are more initiatives to make public spaces more nature-friendly.

Tom Bawden of the i-newspaper reports:


According to Craig Bennett, head of the Wildlife Trusts, the conservation movement is being radically reshaped as the century-old focus on “honey pot” sites of great natural beauty – often in a far and distant land – is switching to the more modest wildlife near our houses.

Only a decade ago, when Bennett was at Friends of the Earth, people thought that letting the grass grow long on roadside verges was “madness”, he recalls. But in recent years, helped by campaigns and scientific research extolling the benefits of biodiversity for nature and our mental health, people are coming around strongly to the idea that “messy is good”.

This conversion has prompted a growing interest in rewilding – essentially, letting nature take its course – from the environmental fringes towards the mainstream…

More recently, Covid has hugely increased the public’s appreciation of nature as they sought solace in green space when restrictions often left them with little else to do. And because they couldn’t travel easily, they focused on that park they may have overlooked for years even though it was just down the road…

“Now, people are getting excited about local nature, where they live or can walk or cycle to. People are starting to celebrate and understand, not perhaps the most spectacular nature, but the nature close to where they are. I think that’s a definite shift, and that then leads to that massive interest in urban rewilding.”

‘People are excited about local nature’: Covid pandemic prompts surge in appreciation for rewilding UK cities

Calls for Nottingham to become UK’s first rewilded city centre after shopping centre is demolished


The Wildlife Trust is quite serious about these proposals:

Broadmarsh Central Park: Tom’s top 10 reasons for it | Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust


In East Devon, we have similar projects happening:

Creating a nature recovery network for East Devon – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Ideas on how the Sid Valley can enhance its biodiversity – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Life on the Verge: wildflowers at the Bowd – Vision Group for Sidmouth


photo: Consept visualisation looking up towards the Castle by Influence: Nottingham Wildlife Trust