On Saturday the 24th of June, Duke of Edinburgh volunteers arrived at Elmbridge Meadows to help remove the Himalayan Balsam that dominates the river the banks. These invasive pink flowered plants outcompete our native species, reducing local biodiversity.
On a sunny morning in June, Cisco volunteers arrived at the 2.6-hectare Moated Manor Local Nature Reserve. This beautiful area forms part of the wildlife corridor that lines the bank of the Hogsmill River and is an important refuge for an array of wildlife from nesting kestrels to badgers. For a relatively small area there is a great diversity of habitat types, including a meadow speckled with yellow meadow ant hills, a pond which marks the location of a medieval moat and a woodland with veteran oak trees, hawthorn and yew.
On a sunny Wednesday in May, we joined forces with the Lower Mole Project, South East Rivers Trust and the Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group to take on the Himalayan Balsam in the Hogsmill catchment.
Following one of the driest Aprils on record, Wednesday the 17th of May with its torrential downpours was the wettest day of 2017 so far. However, this did not dampen the spirts of the Cisco volunteers, who arrived at Hounslow Heath to help restore one of the most significant sites of Lowland Heath across London.
On Sunday the 14th of May, we joined an event led by Sustrans and a community group based at Malden Manor. Which sort to clean up the area and inspire and encourage more of the community to engage and care about the area they live in. Volunteers split into groups picking up litter throughout the area.
On Saturday the 13th of May Duke of Edinburgh volunteers alongside volunteers from the community joined forces to tend to the memorial woodland garden. This a beautiful garden has been planted with native woodland plants including sweetscented bedstraw (also known as woodruff), columbine with its chandelier blue like flowers, wood violet and greater stitchwort with its white star like flowers. This provides fantastic habitat for lots of invertebrates and during the day we saw lots of bees, butterflies and beetles buzzing around the area.
On Thursday the 11th of May, eight cheerful volunteers from Santander arrived at the Moated Manor Local Nature Reserve to help improve the area for wildlife and conservation activities. This tucked away little nature reserve though small, has a fantastic diversity of habitats and great potential to be a haven for Kingston’s wildlife.
If you were to travel back 2000 years over a quarter of the UK was covered in wetlands and scattered with ponds, in fact London was a very marshy area, with woodland only covering the higher ground. However, as the human population grew with settlements and agriculture, much of our land was drained.
Growing up in Surbiton I have walked past the Surbiton Telephone Exchange countless times, and every time my eyes have fallen upon the neglected and forlorn raised beds which lay at the front of this building. So on the 29th of April, volunteer groups across Kingston including the Kingston Environment Centre, Environment Trust and Surbiton Wildlife Group came together to improve this area by planting wildflowers and herbaceous plants; improving the area for pollinators and people.