Wild life

Karen Neville


Brian Clews tells us about Wild Cookham which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year and how we can help ahead of Big Cookham Wildlife Weekend

This year, the WildCookham team are celebrating our tenth anniversary, during which time we have organised dozens of talks, guided walks and several significant wildlife projects in the Cookhams. These include toad patrols, wildflower meadow creation, the Wild About Gardens awards scheme and the reintroduction of water voles after 30 years of absence.

As is well-known, much of our wildlife is struggling in our open countryside which has needed to be worked hard to produce our food and other country pursuits. But, while there is not much we can do individually about that, the good news is that we can all do something within our own gardens to help our beleaguered wildlife. So WildCookham is challenging us all to help our gardens become havens for as many species as possible.


We are asking our neighbours to do a bit of preparation for the Big Weekend. Firstly, if you don’t yet have a pond or water feature, we recommend you create one early this year. It need not be huge, but it needs to be fish-free and suitably planted up. Advice is available on our web site at wildcookham.org.uk


Also we are asking as many of you as possible to create a small patch of wildflowers, perhaps a square metre to start with as a minimum. In memory of much-missed Adrian Doble, who worked with Boston Seeds to create a mix of seeds suited to our area, we will soon have available small packets of seed to create such a patch (2gms per sq m). Our website will advise where in the village these can be obtained from, and how to prepare the area. 

Hopefully, by the time of the main weekend in June these efforts will be contributing to even greater diversity of garden creatures.

And so to the main event itself in June. We would love as many as possible to spend some time that weekend observing and recording as many critters and creatures as possible. Great fun for the whole family as the search in shrubs and bushes, and under leaves, stones etc goes on. You can list all the ones you know, but you can also simply count how many different sorts of birds, butterflies, bugs, beetles, ladybirds, bees and other beasties you find. Our website will list sources of online identification aids of animals to help families, and there are numerous apps one can download too.

So put the dates in the diary, check our website, and get ready for the “holiday safari” of a lifetime! For more info please email [email protected]