On 27 September the RSPB’s Wildlife Garden at Flatford was awarded first place in the Recreation category at the annual Biffa Building Communities Awards. The ceremony took place at Chatham’s Historic Dockyard in Kent, and was attended by representatives from 25 shortlisted projects.

Shirley Boyle, Project Officer for the garden said “We’re delighted that the garden has received such recognition. It’s a great project, which aims to inspire people to help wildlife by caring for their own gardens in such a way as to help struggling creatures such as honey bees, hedgehogs, butterflies and song thrushes. It’s not particularly difficult to do, and it gives everyone a chance to make a difference for our fellow creatures!”

The project, led by the RSPB as part of their Homes for Wildlife scheme, relies on a dedicated team of local volunteers, who not only maintain the garden, but also welcome visitors to the tranquil spot, which is nestled on the banks of the Stour, in the heart of Constable Country.

The garden consists of wide, flowing flower borders, designed to provide plenty of nectar & pollen, an area of wildflower meadow, providing longer grass as shelter for insect life; dense shrubby areas to provide cover and fruit for wintering birds, and many other ideas that are easily transferable to back-gardens everywhere.

The garden is open between 1 April and 31 October every year, and on Thursdays during the winter months, when the gardening volunteers are on site. Entry is free, and opening hours are 10:30 until 4:30/dusk. Parking is at the National Trust car park, and there is a cafe and toilets very close to the garden.

Article and photography by Shirley Boyle, Flatford Wildlife Garden Project Officer