Wilderhood Watch is a group of St Albans residents determined to help make our city more friendly for wildlife and people, one street at a time. If you already live on a Wilderhood Watch street, please consider becoming involved. Adding your garden to your street’s growing wildlife corridor will make all the difference.
By creating a ‘corridor’ of plants from which bees and other pollinators can forage, you can ensure that they never go hungry, no matter what the season. The Pollinator Highway project involves swapping pollinator-friendly plants amongst yourselves and learning to garden in a more wildlife friendly way. Or you may want to become a Hedgehog Street, creating access holes for hedgehogs and ensuring your gardens are super safe (hedgehogs have a reputation for getting into sticky situations!)
To find out if your street has a Wilderhood Watch group, check out the Wilder Actions Map on the Wilder St Albans website. If your street doesn’t yet have a group, please have a chat with your neighbours and consider joining us. We’d love to have you! We will provide you with a group page on our website, as well as a project page and logo for new projects.
Latest Project Updates
Our Wildlife Gardening Champions have been very busy clearing the green space behind the George Street Canteen. We are now planning to turn it into a multi-habitat Wildlife Garden, complete with a pond and meadows.
We had great fun planting 105 saplings at St John Fisher School on December 3rd 2021.
Led by Wilder St Albans coordinator Heidi Carruthers, on November 17th 2021 members of Wilderhood Watch collected elm suckers from Clarence Park. These will hopefully become disease resistant saplings, ready to be planted in local green spaces.
On October 16th 2021 we launched our Plant a Hedge project with a guided tour of The Remarkable World of Trees exhibition led by the wonderful Kate Bretherton.
Thank you to everyone who came along to our Pollinator Highway plant swap on Saturday 25 September – happy planting!
On 19 September 2021 we launched our Toad Road project with a pond-dipping event at the Grebe House Wildlife Garden in Verulamium Park! Thank you to everyone who came along, and to Heidi from Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust for your fantastic and inspiring pond wildlife expertise.
We stand with ‘CLASH’ against development on North St Albans Green Belt. We are currently set to lose beautiful local Green Field land on the doorstep of our much-loved Heartwood Forest. The site is a rich, biodiverse habitat, home to a wide range of species spanning multiple habitat types including species-rich grassland, wildflower meadow, and wet meadow plus pond. Read our full statement here.
As part of our new Litter Pick project, Wilderhood Watch members have been regularly litter picking along our streets and Buzz Stops this August in order to keep our neighbourhood safe for wildlife!
Wilderhood Watch members Madeleine and Nadia visited the beautiful Sandridge Community Allotment display at the Hampton Court flower festival, featuring Wilderhood Watch sunflowers! (July 2021).
Thank you so much to everyone who submitted photos for our Wilderhood Watch 2021 Photography Competition. We had some truly amazing entries, which made voting for our favourites extremely difficult. Huge congratulations to our winners in what was a very close run competition! Take look at all the winning photos here.
Our first Meadow Walk this June was great fun. It was lovely to see everyone and we all enjoyed having a leisurely look round each others’ gardens and swapping tips on meadow growing. We all agreed the effect of long grass bordered by shorter grass paths was truly stunning. And of course great for wildlife!
We’ve been receiving fantastic entries for our Wildlife Photography Competition! The end of June deadline is fast approaching, so make sure you send in your photos…
Our stalls held on various Wilderhood Watch streets for Sustfest 2021 have been a great success – thank you to everyone involved.
Wilderhood Watch member Jill has captured some beautiful shots of her friendly garden robins this May!
Our Wildlife Photography Competition 2021 has begun! We have a fantastic array of prizes up for grabs, including books kindly donated by local authors Joe Gray and Martha Dunlop. Wilderhood Watch member Nadia has written a review of Joe’s book ‘Thirteen Paces by Four’ for St Albans District Young Greens, which you can read below, and Joe is also giving a fascinating talk on nature and rewilding from 7-8PM on the 26th May.
Wilder St Albans is asking everyone to carry out the ‘How Wild Are We?’ survey between 23rd May and 6th June 2021. If you live on a Wilderhood Watch street, please send your competed survey to nadia@wilderhoodWatch.org as well as the hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/wilderstalbans.
Wilderhood Watch is hosting a series of stalls across many of our streets for Sustfest 2021, where we’ll be selling or giving away a variety of wildlife related items such as pollinator friendly seeds and seedlings (including sunflower seeds for our Great St Albans Sunflower Challenge), 20mph Hedgehog signs, and custom made greetings cards with beautiful designs by local artists Madeleine Robertson and Sofia Havsteen-Franklin.
Our stall at the 2021 Sustfest Market on 23 May was buzzing with people chatting about wildlife (especially hedgehogs!), taking away seeds and seedlings to plant and checking out our various challenges and competitions. A massive thank you to everyone who helped with the stall and all the people who paid us a visit!
Wilderhood Watch members Michiko and Bill busy planting verbascum at our Lancaster Rd Buzz Stop on 5 May 2021 – Thank you so much for your help, and for not minding getting drenched!
Our Pollinator Friendly Plant Guide has been kindly compiled for our Wilderhood Watch by local garden designer and St Albans Friends of the Earth member, Amanda Yorwerth. Amanda has taken into account how easy the plants are to grow, as well as their drought-resistance, and has ensured that they aren’t invasive species. Having a variety of plants that flower in different seasons provides food for pollinators all year round!
We’re looking forward to sharing our Summer with lots of happy little pollinators, as we now have seven green spaces on either the Council meadow mowing or tall herb mowing schedules! Check out our Buzz Stops for more information. (Below: Our newest Buzz Stops on Sandridge Rd and Sandpit Lane)
The Great St Albans Sunflower Challenge is back for 2021! Due to popular demand, we will be running our Great St Albans Sunflower Challenge again this year as part of our ongoing Pollinator Highway projects. Last year we managed to plant over 1898 seeds – we can’t wait to see sunflowers popping up all over St Albans this year!
You can still take part in our Winter Hedgehog Sign Challenge! In the UK up to 335,000 hedgehogs are dying on our roads each year. It is so important to look after the wildlife living on our doorsteps, and research concludes that changing our driving behaviour is integral to keeping hedgehogs safe on our roads.
We know that we have hedgehogs all over St Albans – these photographs were taken by local residents within the last 2 years. If you live locally and would like to receive a Hedgehog Sign free of charge, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
NO to Neonicotinoids! The EU placed a ban on the use of Neonicotinoids due to the adverse effect it has on bees and other pollinators. As the UK has left the EU, the Government should uphold these restrictions in order to protect natural pollinators. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/563943
Considering becoming vegan for New Year 2021? Want to introduce more vegan meals to your diet, or just trying out Veganuary? There are plenty of delicious, nutritious vegan recipes out there – check out our website for some of our favourites! wilderhoodwatch.org/recipes
Wilderhood Watch coordinator Nadia has written a fantastic book review on The Running Hare (by John Lewis-Stempel) for St Albans District Young Greens. “Not only does he show that we can indeed feed ourselves and nurture wildlife at the same time, Lewis-Stempel compels us to, with powerful, unerring conviction.”
This festive season we sold over 400 Christmas cards to Wilderhood Watch members in order to fund wildflower seeds, native daffodil bulbs and tree saplings for planting at our Buzz Stops and other local green spaces! (Designs by Imogen Robertson and Madeleine Robertson).
On the 10th and 11th December 2020, volunteers from Wilderhood Watch helped St Albans BID to plant pollinator friendly plants in the area opposite the Clock Tower! Thank you to everyone who came along.
We are excited to be launching our Winter Hedgehog Sign Challenge, with the hope that our signs will remind drivers to take care on the roads, and save our precious hedgehog population! Here is Woody, our Woodstock Rd South rescue hedgehog, being released back into the wild after recovering from a broken leg. You’ll find more brilliant Woody footage on our Woodstock Rd South Hedgehog Project page.
Wilderhood Watch is delighted to be supporting the Affinity Water Save 10 Water Campaign. This campaign is encouraging St Albans residents to save 10 litres of water a day, which would make a real difference to the water levels of our precious local chalk stream, the River Ver. To join in, follow this link to get your free water saving pack!
Wilderhood Watch is a supporter of the Build Back Better initiative, which is campaigning to make sure our coronavirus recovery is fair for everyone while taking care of our planet and addressing the climate emergency. Find out more and sign up on their website: www.buildbackbetteruk.org
Spot the pollinator! Bees were having a lovely time visiting flowers around St Albans Clocktower on September 8th 2020.
Many St Albans businesses are joining our St Albans City Centre Pollinator project by installing pollinator friendly flowers outside. The Boot now has a stunning second storey display, and George Street is decorated with planters containing salvia, knapweed, lavender and daisies, all super bee-friendly! Check out the project page to read more…
Check out our Sunflower Photo Gallery!
Congratulations to our Photography Competition 2020 winners! We received so many amazing entries – check out the entire photo gallery.
- Over 18 – Jill Priest, Hoglets
- Secondary School – Toby Davies (age 12), Leaf
- Junior School – Eliott Forel (age 10), 7-Spot Ladybird
- Infant School and below – Myles Lloyd (age 6), Wildflowers
Our final tally for the Great St Albans Sunflower Challenge 2020 is an amazing 1898 seeds planted! Despite lockdown, we have managed to distribute over 1000 seed packets to residents over the last 10 weeks by setting up several collection hubs around St Albans. Thank you to everyone who planted seeds – we can’t wait to see sunflowers popping up everywhere throughout the Summer! (08-06-2020)
Now at the end of May, we’re seeing plenty of beautiful flowers popping up in the wildflower meadows recently planted in several residents gardens. Hopefully next season we’ll be able to keep planting in gardens, schools and around our Buzz Stops!
Thank you to Jill for this amazing video showing just how many animals depend on the water we put out in our gardens. Please remember to leave out water for your garden wildlife, especially in this hot weather.
Amanda Yorwerth from St Albans Friends of the Earth installed pollinator friendly planters in the centre of St Albans on Tuesday, May 26th. Check out our St Albans City Centre project for further details.
St Albans Rainbow Trails is holding a Bee Hunt this week to raise awareness for the furry little creatures that are always so busy in our gardens. Please help them out by having a look at our Pollinator Highway page to find out which flowers you can plant to keep them happy and well-fed. And try leaving a patch of lawn unmown so that the wildflowers can flourish – your bees will love you for it!
Take a look at these adorable photos that Wilderhood Watch member Jill Priest has taken of a robin family in her garden!
Wilderhood Watch member Simon has already had mason bees move in to the bee box in his garden. Check out the mason bee website to find out more about mason bees – you can even become a Bee Guardian!
As part of Hedgehog Awareness Week, Jill Priest Stevens (co-ordinator of the Ladder Roads Wilderhood Watch group) is raising money for London Colney Hedgehog Rescue. Please help our local hedgehogs by donating on her JustGiving page.
Congratulations to Evie Roe, who we chose as our winner for the St Albans Rainbow Trails Earth Day creative competition for her beautiful painting of a blossom tree!
Check out the photo gallery for our first Wilderhood Watch wildlife photography competition! Winners for each age category will be voted for by Wilderhood Watch members. We will be giving away prizes of a small hand-knitted hedgehog in a small hand-built hedgehog house! Age categories are: Infant School (and below), Junior School, Secondary School, and Over 18.
To honour Earth Day this week (20th April), St Albans Rainbow Trails are holding a creative competition! Wilderhood Watch are lucky enough to be one of the local environmental groups involved, alongside Sustainable St Albans, St Albans eco, St Albans Friends of the Earth, St Albans Greenpeace and Butterfly World 2.0 – we’ll even be helping to pick some winners! To get involved, please join the St Albans Rainbow Trails Facebook group.
The Great St Albans Sunflower Challenge 2020 has begun! Please contact Nadia with the number of sunflower seeds you’ve planted to add them to the count. For more information on how to plant your seeds, have a look at the RHS website. We will update the total to include new entries every two days…
Check out Prof. Tim Boatswain’s latest blog, Coronavirus, Seeds and Samuel Ryder, on how a famous historical figure started his own seed selling empire right here in St Albans.
Getting St Albans Growing! Amanda Yorwerth’s latest Environment Matters podcast on Radio Verulam (9th April) featured interviews with Wilderhood Watch members Nadia Bishara and Kate Swindells, who is also the founder of Sopwell Grow Community – click on the link below to listen.
Take a look at our Corona Lockdown 2020 page for safe, stay-at-home ideas involving your garden wildlife and nature, including our Great St Albans Sunflower Challenge and Photography Competition. By establishing pick-ups outside several members’ houses, we have already managed to distribute over 400 packets of sunflower seeds to neighbours! We can’t wait to see all the Sunflowers growing in everyone’s gardens come Summer.
If you are a Lancaster Rd resident or live nearby, you are welcome to become involved in our neighbourhood plant swap during lockdown. Please check out our Plant Swap page for further details.
On Saturday March 14th, Wilderhood Watch members had a marathon day of meadow planting, first at Bernard’s Heath Junior School, and then at St Saviour’s Church on Sandpit Lane. Fingers crossed we get loads of beautiful wildflowers appearing this Summer!
On the 2nd of January she also gave a talk at the first St Albans Environment Action Group (EAG) meeting of 2020. The group was formed in 2018 by residents and councillors. It exists to connect local environmental groups and individuals more strongly with local councils, and support local councils’ efforts to improve the environment for humans and all life. They meet every two months at St Albans Council and host speakers from different environmental groups at the meetings.
Everyone is welcome, so if you’re interested in getting involved, check out their website for future meeting dates.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been regularly sighting Red Kites circling the trees lining the railway cutting between Lancaster and Gurney Court roads (photo taken 07-01-20). We have to be constantly vigilant to ensure that these beautiful trees and the wildlife they support remain protected from unnecessary vegetation management by Network Rail. Read more about our Save the Trees project here.
We’ve been busy putting up signs along our Hedgehog Streets to encourage drivers to keep to a safe speed and prevent our much-loved neighbourhood hedgehogs from being run over. Signs are now up along: Jennings Rd, Blenheim Rd, Lancaster Rd, Gurney Court Rd, The Park and Arthur Rd. Please contact us if you’d like one!
Thank you to everyone who visited our stall at the Sandringham School Christmas Fair on Saturday 7th December, and to all the Wilderhood Watch members who donated handmade items to sell. We managed to raise over £150! The money will be used to buy tree saplings for our Plant a Tree project involving local schools, and seeds for future Buzz Stop wildflower meadows. Congratulations to our hand-built Hedgehog House Raffle winner, Anne.
Here is our most recently installed Hedgehog Sign, outside Little Steps Day Nursery at the top of Lancaster Road! If you would like a sign put up outside your house, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
We planted 30 trees at Bernard’s Heath Infant School on November 30th as part of the Big Climate Fightback. Check out our Plant a Tree project.
As Winter approaches and the temperature plummets, the wildlife in your garden needs your help more than ever. Have a look at our top ten tips to keep them warm and well fed during the festive season.
Wilderhood Watch members supported the Global Climate Strike in St Albans on the 20th September 2019.
Our Wilderhood Watch stall was very popular at the Warwick Road Street Party on the 8th September 2019. Lots of residents have now pledged to create or maintain Hedgehog Holes in their garden fences as part of their new Hedgehog Street project! If you have a Hedgehog Hole in your fence, remember to register it on the Hedgehog Street website.
We are currently collaborating with District Councillor Mandy McNeil, the St Albans BID (Business Improvement District) and local schools to install a Pollinator Highway in St Albans City Centre, a project funded by the St Albans BID. Local garden designer, St Albans Friends of the Earth member and Wilderhood Watch member Amanda Yorwerth will be creating the planting scheme and overseeing the maintenance of the site involving Wilderhood Watch members and local school children.
Our stall at a St Albans Sustainability Festival event, June 2019.