What is rewilding?
Rewilding is the simple idea to just let nature get on with it; it looks at how nature can function without any intrusion from humans. This has ranged from fencing off land from deer and planting native trees in areas of Scotland to the release of beavers in Scotland, Devon and the Forest of Dean. It can even include predator releases: Yellowstone Park released wolves back into their natural habitat, and saw a knock-on effects that has enriched the park ecosytem.
Elsewhere, rewilding could boost urban biodiversity too. More abundant trees and small wild spaces would allow creatures big and small to have safe havens, and give people breathing space from clustered, polluted urban life.
If you’d like to let nature take back a bit of Bristol, take a look at these ways you can help.
Leave some of your garden to nature with the Blue Campaign
Set aside a portion of your garden marked with a blue heart as part of the BLUE Campaign. Leave this small section to rewild, leaving it to grow long until after summer. You can also encourage local councils and organisations to do this. It’s a great way to break up the monotony of lawns and give creatures from butterflies to hedgehogs a stepping stone as they navigate perilous human habitats. The campaign also encourages businesses, councils and schools to leave little plots of land to the wild. You can record the flora and fauna you find in your wild little strip on the iNaturalist app; go to the Blue Heart Campaign site to find out more.
Get wildlife encouraging tree packs from the woodland trust.
You can get free packs of trees through the Woodland Trust to plant in a community space or school; tree packs include those for eating or for aesthetics, but there are also wildlife encouraging packs to create nature-friendly hedgerows and wooded areas that creatures can colonise. While this not strictly ‘wild’, with hedgerows and planned woods being maintained areas, they would still be beneficial and promote biodiversity in a cityscape.
Free Wildflower seeds from Growwild
If a plot you have in mind doesn’t have room for trees it may be ideal for wildflowers. They may take to a plot left alone such as that encouraged by the BLUE campaign, but if you’d like to be sure and get the seed in there yourself, you can apply for free seed packs for a school project or community garden from Growwild. Other groups also have readily available wildflower seed packs, such as the Avon Wildlife Trust who have given out free cornfield wildflower packs in the past; get sowing, and over summer you’ll see a diversity in wildflowers and the wildlife they’ll attract.
Wilderness is as simple as ‘letting it be,’ and it would be great to see the wonders and surprises of unplanned nature stitched in to the humdrum concrete of the city landscape.