The Patch Wildlife group was established in September 2005 to improve the Patch for nature, with an aim to increase the diversity of plant, insect, bird and animal life not only in the park but in the surrounding gardens and neighbourhood as well.
Activities we have carried out and Habitats created include the following:
- Wildflower Bank - created in autumn 2017 by planting native downland wildflowers in to bare chalk for the benefit of insect pollinators and a colourful display for people. Previously we have also sown wildflower seeds along the path down to Franklin Street and planted 'plugs' in to grass too.
- Patch Pond - created in winter 2007, this is full of aquatic wildlife such as newts and toads and is much-loved by people, especially children pond-dipping there.
- Hedgerow Shrubs - 500 shrubs of diverse native species such as hawthorn were planted in March 2007 to form a hedgerow all along the eastern border, together with individual tall shrub bays at points along the western side.
- Bird Boxes - erected and maintained annually on selected trees
- Compost Bins - registered local householders use these for organic waste
We also encourage more wildlife-friendly management and maintenance of the Patch by the city council in terms of its mowing and pesticide practices, by reducing cutting of the fringes and avoiding glyphosate applications to kill 'weed' plants.
Prior to carrying out any nature improvements, a proposed plan of habitats creation and sympathetic park management was drawn up and consulted upon widely with local residents throughout 2006 resulting in general support from park users. The final plans were submitted to the city council in December 2006 and received their approval. We also successfully applied for funds from the Lottery's Awards for All fund and the city council's Environmental Sustainability Grant. With outline permission from the council, we began improvements works in the Patch in February 2007.