Looks like everybody's too shy to say anything so I'll break the ice. I just joined today and I'm moving into a property in the Lash Hill / Sketchley Hill area of Burbage, and I am planning to include a wildlife area in the garden.
It's only a small council flat garden and I'll be using about one third of it specifically for a wildlife area, but with wildlife-friendly planting in the rest of the garden as well. It looks like the whole garden has been lawn for a long time so should be fairly un-contaminated. The soil seems to be a heavy loam and I'll need to get busy with the compost bins.
I'm not a local and haven't lived in a property in this area before so I don't know anything about the native wildlife. I haven't been able to find out yet when the houses were built but I'm guessing the whole area has had houses on since the 50s or 60s, but there are generous areas of green space on the estate.
Does anybody here have any tips for what to expect in this area, and what (if anything) needs special encouragement or protection?
I think I am probably the nearest regular NatureSpot contributor to the Burbage area at present, and I have been recording Sapcote parish about 4 miles down the road for quite a while now. I have also been active on the NatureSpot site ever since its launch and I'm sure that you will find it a really useful facility.
I don't know what you can expect in a willife garden, as I've never been involved with one, but you are in a fantastic area for some good wildlife recording as Burbage Common and Woods are on your doorstep. You can visit the Wild Places tag on NatureSpot to learn a little more about that area and to see what's been turning up there. The wood is certainly rich in birdlife and has rich flora and fungi in the relevant seasons, but no-one has yet made it a project to photograph them all and add them to NatureSpot.
I don't know whether you usually photograph your records, it is a very rewarding part of the natural history experience - if you do, then I hope we will be seeing some of your images on NatureSpot soon. In the meantime welcome to our area and an especially warm welcom to NatureSpot.
Thanks for the welcome and the information Graham.
I'm more of a gardener with an interest in wildlife than a wildlifer with an interest in gardening, so although I've walked the dogs on the common and woods (sorry!) I'm not familiar with the wildlife of the area. I think the geology and soil of the Lash Hill area are similar to the common, but we're on a slope so I don't think we'll see as many amphibians, although Sketchley Brook is just at the bottom of the hill so we might see a few if they can find their way across the busy road.
I've signed up at the Big Wildlife Garden website and I'm hoping to make contact with some more local people on there. I'm getting over heart surgery at the moment so I won't be doing much until the spring, which gives me time to observe what's already there. When I do make a start I'll try to photograph whatever turns up and post the pictures here.
We'll look forward to seeing them.
Is this another one of those forums where nobody posts anything because nobody else is posting anything?
I have been a member of NatureSpot for a week and a day. I am a parish councillor for the Lash Hill ward of Burbage. At the last parish council meeting an invitation to join NatureSpot and set up a Burbage NS web-page was discussed and passed to the F&GP committee which I am also a member of - on Monday F&GP agreed to spend the money to set up a Burbage village NS web-site as long as I do the work - there is another councillor, currently on holiday who is keen as well.
I have lived in Burbage (Lash Hill) for 32 years and there is a fair bit of wildlife there - within the past month I have seen a fox and a hedgehog on Brookside, and I have had several hedgehogs living in my garden over the years. Good places in Lash Hill - the nature garden next to the station, the Courting Stiles (between Brookside and the railway line) which includes the flood relief area that drains the railway (various aquatic plants).
The houses at the Hinckley Road end of Brookside were built between the wars and the Rugby Road end (council houses) were built in the 1960s.
You're right about the soil - my late and very Polish neighbour used to refer to it as "bletty concrete".
Hi Howard, I think I've just followed you on Twitter :) How's the new web site going?
My health and the weather have stopped me doing much in the garden over the winter but I've now dug up the area that will be my 'woodland bank' - it'll just be mustard then annuals until the autumn when I'm hoping to have a good supply of compost to use when I plant it up properly.
The only wildlife I've seen so far has been a couple of frogs, a few spiders, a slither of slugs and a multitude of ants, a few bumble bees and of course a few birds. The starlings appreciated some chopped up goldenrod stems for nesting material and there's a robin who seems to think my turf stack is his personal worm bank.
I'm getting to know the local area and have seen a few butterflies in the Courting Stiles / flood basin area.
Hello again - any more news on the website?
I find it very annoying to see the council seem determined to cut every blade of grass in the parish as soon as it gets more than an inch high - surely a few corners could be left to grow a bit more interesting and support our wildlife?