Volunteers planting for wildlife

Natural Networks - Church Hill Brook planting day by Jasmine Walters

Local volunteers from Redditch came out in force to help add the finishing touches to the first Natural Networks project.

Residents and volunteers came out to Church Hill Brook in Redditch to help with the final stage of a project to help wildlife, improve the area for people to enjoy and reduce the risk of localised flooding.  They got involved in preparing the ground and planting a specially selected range of native plants. 

The project, funded by the Natural Networks scheme, has been headed up by North Worcestershire Water Management.  A new channel with meanders to help slow the flow of water has been created as well as two new pools.  The existing channel has been retained to create a large pond and wetland area.  The new habitats will help fish, frogs, toads and other wetland wildlife seek refuge in times of rapidly flowing water.

New wetland being created along the Church Hill Brook by Jasmine Walters

Wetland creation by Jasmine Walters

The mosaic of woodland, marshy grassland, scrub and running water on the site will provide habitats for a wide range of species from insects to birds. Wetland plants like yellow flag iris and purple loosestrife as well as wildflowers like cowslip and ragged robin will attract a range of pollinating insects such as bumblebees and butterflies.

Councillor Tony Miller, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, said “We had a fantastic turn out of local people who want to get involved in their patch that will become a lovely place to walk in and provide protection from flooding for their properties. 

"Everyone got stuck in to replant the areas that have been improved. The plants were chosen by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust as part of support provided by the Natural Networks programme to compliment existing flora and fauna and encourage new species to the new marshland/wetland habitat." 

Natural Networks

The Natural Networks Programme is run by Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust to work with communities and landowners to conserve and restore Worcestershire's natural environment so that everyone can appreciate and enjoy our county's rich natural environment.

Natural Networks is a grant programme offering advice and funding to projects which aim to create and restore habitats for wildlife.

Grants are available between £2,000 and £200,000. Organisations can apply for a grant for up to 45% of projects costs.

To be eligible for the grant, the sites must have free and ongoing public access.