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Wichelstowe show home gardens recognised as havens for wildlife

Swindon’s landmark new Canalside housing development at Wichelstowe has been recognised as a haven for wildlife with a Gold award from the RSPB. The David Wilson show home gardens, which include a range of features from bird and bat boxes to hedgehog highways, ponds and habitats for frogs, toads, newts and more, demonstrate how this de-velopment of contemporary houses and apartments can be a fantastic home for local wildlife too.

The RSPB Gold award has been presented after a thorough assessment of the show home gardens which follow the national charity’s pillars for supporting wildlife. These include providing food, through nectar and pollen-rich plants, water and shelter to attract insects, animals and birds and permeable boundaries that allow wildlife to move around freely.

Set along the newly restored Wilts & Berks canal, Canalside is the first phase of the Wichelstowe development being built by Barratt & David Wilson Homes and will feature 208 much-needed new homes when complete next year. One of the largest local authority joint venture agreements in the country, the partnership between Swindon Borough Council and Barratt Developments plc. will de-liver 3,000 new homes at Wichelstowe over the next 20 years, along with new schools and community

facilities. The 250-hectare site on the southern edge of Swindon includes extensive open spaces, nature conservation areas, playing pitches and allotments.

The award-winning show home gardens offer inspiration and practical ideas to residents and buyers as to how they too can make their garden nature-friendly. As well as homes and habitats for wildlife, the gardens have been planted with native species, wildflower turf and include scented gardens to attract pollinators. Many of these ideas are included in the Nature Conservation Management Strategy and free guide, as well as ‘Welcome wildlife into your world’ recently published in partnership by the RSPB and Barratt Developments, parent company of David Wilson Homes. All new residents are being presented with both of these free publications when they move in.

Welcome wildlife into your world

Wichelstowe wildlife guide

Committed to being the leading national sustainable housebuilder, Barratt Developments began work-ing with the RSPB in 2014 to show how new homes and communities can help nature and support wildlife.

Wichelstowe project director Daniel Pavely said: “We are thrilled to have been presented with an RSPB Gold Award for the David Wilson Homes show gardens at Canalside, which are already attracting birds, insects and more. Creating these wildlife friendly havens was certainly one of the most sought-after jobs during construction! An important element of the award process is ensuring the features are simple, practical and achievable for everyone – so that together we can really boost the biodiversity, flora and fauna at Wichelstowe, which also has extensive open, green space surrounding the new homes.”

Louise Ware, sales director for David Wilson Homes South West added: “The RSPB Gold Award is fan-tastic recognition of the ideas put into practice here at Canalside. It’s wonderful to see, even at this early stage of the development, what an incredible difference some relatively simple measures can make, with the show gardens already teeming with life. We hope it will offer inspiration to everyone who visits our show homes about ways to make outdoors spaces really attractive to wildlife – and as a result of course, to us too.”

Nigel Symes, Head of Sector Advice for the RSPB, added: “Barratt Developments’ commitment to mak-ing show home gardens wildlife-friendly is a great step forward. Nature needs us more than ever and creating gardens with wildlife in mind can help to provide much needed food, water and shelter for the nature around us.”

Wichelstowe’s show homes and sales and marketing suite are now open by appointment and virtual tours are also available. A range of safety measures and new working procedures are in place including protective perspex screens, retractable barriers, strict social distancing and, where necessary, personal protective equipment (PPE), plus smart video- doorbell intercom systems to enable customers to en-gage with sales teams before entering offices.