Hainault Forest Website

The Wildlife Garden

Have you a couple of hours to spare......Volunteers welcome......Please phone Country Park Office 020 8500 7353......Thanks......



Site cleared of Bramble and rubbish 2007-8 and area marked out. Broad beans (arrowed) planted by Alice 11th April 2008. Raised beds and paving prepared using recycled rubbish.20th June 2008.  First crops, potatoes, marrows, beans, mint collected on Lammas Day, August 2nd 2008.

Volunteer day 3rd August 2009. Pond dug, lined and filled. Beds weeded and prepared. For full set of pictures see link August 2009.

Griff completes the pond 26th May 2010. A grant of 500 in 2009 from the Hainault Community Project allowed us to purchase, pebbles, topsoil, shrubs and plants for the garden.

Peter and Pamela Hall kindly supplied us with Water Soldiers and oxygenating plants. Pond skaters, damselflies, dragonflies, smooth newts, frogs and toads have already taken up residence in the pond and garden.

Purple loosestrife flowers at the edge of the pond.

Poppies flower in the cornfield corner.

Petunia and Verbena bed.

Canterbury Bells, Coreopsis, Scabious, Gaillardia, and Lupins

Bees feed on the chives.

Broad bodied Chaser dragonfly perches near the pond.

The Wildlife garden is developing well this year. It has taken four years to clear the area of scrub, weeds, rubbish and timber and get it wildlife friendly. The aim is to develop a garden which encourages bees, hoverflies, moths and butterflies to feed here. The chives which flowered earlier in May were a favourite of the bumblebees, as are the flowering garden plants. We also aim to encourage ladybirds and lacewings who will feed on aphids and to curb the excesses of pest species through natural predation. To this end we do not use any chemicals or sprays.  A pond was created last year and completed recently and already there are frogs, toads and Smooth newts in the pond and in the garden area. Amphibia will feed on insects and other small invertebrates. One drawback to a pond is that various midges and gnats breed there. Having bats flying in the area helps reduce their numbers. Hainault lake was swarming with tadpoles, a large band of them encircling the lake, and some of these were put into the wildlife pond. On the 22nd June tiny froglets were seen leaving the lake in large numbers, crossing paths and grassland. Few of these will survive predation but those that do will remain hidden until the ages of 4 or 5 when they will return to ponds to spawn. The presence of amphibia in a habitat indicates a healthy environment. A wet area to one end of the pond has various plants including Purple loosestrife which is flowering at present.

Blue-tailed and Large red damselflies are present near the pond and a large dragonfly - the Broad-bodied chaser male was found using various sticks to perch on as he quartered the pond. This gave the opportunity to get a close-up photograph.

Some of our plants and vegetables are grown in containers which include discarded car tyres, oil drum, dustbin,  glazed sewer pipes and house bricks. Using old containers reduces the fossil fuels used in the manufacture of plastic pots. Plots are lined with old fence rails and bricks, and raised beds created from old scaffolding planks and even a second-hand pond liner was used. Felled timber and branches make an ideal beetle habitat. Recycling rubbish saves money too.

The vegetable patch contains Sweet-corn, marrows, potatoes, spinach, chard, beetroot, onions, runner beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers and aubergine.

We have created a small cornfield which has an edge of cornfield species such as poppies. One mystery plant which has grown here is the Scorpion weed. It originates from California and is beginning to appear in the UK where it is planted on field edges and among rows of vegetables. It is a favourite of Hoverflies, which in turn feed on pest insects.

One of the raised beds has annual and perennial plants including Phlomis, Lupins, Canterbury bells, Coreopsis, Daisies, Star of the Veldt, Antirrhinum, Aarons rod, Foxgloves, Scabious and Gaillardia The second raised bed has a variety of mints, oregano, marjoram, bronze fennel, feverfew and borage.

Further work to be done over the next year is to complete a path into the garden via the willow tunnel which is doing well and was planted on the 1st March. To develop a bird feeding station near the hedgerow, to install a shed, to create grass paths and to develop further natural areas. To do this work requires the dedication of volunteers. Could you spend a couple of hours a week - light or heavy work at a time to suit yourself. You would be very welcome. Further information from Linda Herbert at the Country Park Office on 020 8500 7353 or linda.herbert@redbridge.gov.uk. Thankyou.