What are Community Nature Spaces?
Community Nature Spaces are places for you and places for nature. This Local Places for Nature (Welsh Government) funded project aims to transform smaller and poorer-quality play areas and green spaces into mini havens for wildlife and also provide local residents with opportunities for wild play, community growing and places for quiet reflection.
Why do we need Community Nature Spaces?
Our public outdoor spaces provide opportunities for us to be active, connect with others, be creative and interact with nature. Taking quiet time to reflect on our natural surroundings can be positive for mental health and wellbeing. Having the opportunity to play in natural environments helps children develop social skills, language and comprehension.
But managed appropriately, urban spaces are becoming increasingly important areas for wildlife. Nature is in trouble; we are facing a global nature crisis and we can see the signs in our own back gardens. Recent studies show that half of British butterflies are threatened with extinction and in Gwent the number of flying insects has declined by 40% between 2004 and 2021.
Community Nature Spaces create mini meadows and beds of plants specially chosen to be of high value to pollinators. Native tree and shrub planting to support our wildlife by providing food and shelter. Bird and bat boxes provide safe nesting and roosting opportunities. Carbon is stored in plant material and undisturbed soils. The network of spaces creates steppingstones to allow wildlife to move urban areas safely.
Nature does not hurry, so as these Community Nature Spaces mature they will get better and better.
Community Nature Spaces in Monmouth
The first Community Nature Spaces project in Monmouth was completed in 2022 as part of a wider scheme to rationalise play provision following assessment of fixed playgrounds which identified many sites were of poor quality in terms of play value. Community Nature Spaces were created out of nine former Local Areas of Play (LAPs) in the Rockfield Estate and two Local Equipped Areas of Play (LEAPs) at Hendre Close and Goldwire Lane within the Overmonnow Ward of Monmouth. The LEAPs were in need of improvement for biodiversity and also from a fixed play perspective which was funded via a play grant.
The resulting changes and outcomes for nature included:
- Native provenance wildflower seeding and planting of 200 native plug plants
- Improved grassland management for wildlife, including avoiding use of pesticides
- Planting of 60 fruit and native trees
- Planting of over 3000 native hedge plants, shrubs and ornamental pollinator plants.
- Installation of over 30 wildlife boxes for birds, bats, hedgehogs and insects
- Construction of six reptile hibernacula
Community Nature Spaces in Chepstow
The 2022-2023 financial year saw Community Nature Spaces delivered in Chepstow. We didn’t have the same match funding available and the different nature of the sites that were selected resulted in different sorts of schemes being delivered. Working with the Severn Crescent Community Group we were able to fulfil a long-term goal of theirs by creating large meadow areas with wildflower turf. The Woolpitch Wood Orchard Group provided us valuable feedback to ensure the proposals meet the needs and aims of the users of the site.
Community Nature Spaces in Abergavenny
We are currently undertaking consultation to deliver Community Nature Spaces in Abergavenny. Visit our consultation page to find out more and have your say.
How can you get involved?
Whether you want to get involved with community food growing or you want to get involved another way, we want to hear from you. Email email@example.com to speak to the Biodiversity Team.
This post is also available in: Welsh