We believe there’s a better way to live – one where people and nature thrive side by side, on developments where green spaces and wildlife habitats are integral to the fabric of the place.
It’s why we’ve developed our ‘nature for people’ placemaking principle and are working in partnership with The Wildlife Trusts to provide the right habitats where they are needed. You can find out more in our ‘new build vs nature’ podcast or read on….
Homebuyers’ changing priorities
It’s vital we are giving nature a home by protecting and enhancing existing habitats and creating new place for wildlife to flourish. However, spending time in natural surroundings can also have a hugely positive impact on our own mental and physical health, with nature and health and nature and wellbeing being closely intwined. The health and wellbeing benefits of having nature on your doorstep are extensive.
You’ve also told us that living close to nature and green spaces is one of your top priorities when looking for a new home, particularly post-lockdown. In fact, when we asked what community features and facilities were most sought after, proximity to green open spaces came out top, with 35% of survey respondents saying this was their number one priority.
Our plan to boost nature
They say a goal without a plan is just a wish – so we’ve developed a detailed strategy in partnership with The Wildlife Trusts to ensure our goal of providing nature for people becomes a reality.
Our priority is to protect existing natural features on our new developments to prevent disturbance to established wildlife. This also ensures our new homes bed into their surroundings as quickly as possible, so you become part of a community that feels as if it’s been there forever.
Next, we plan how we can integrate new green spaces within the development layout, joining up existing habitats and providing links to surrounding green areas so wildlife can move safely throughout. These include green routes for walking and cycling, open spaces such as community orchards and meadows, and wetland areas like ponds and swales. We even create incidental areas of wildflower planting on verges to provide nectar for bees and butterflies, so no opportunity is wasted.
Creating biodiversity is at the heart of our strategy and this is so important to safeguard the UK’s native wildlife populations. You can read more on the importance of biodiversity here.
Our plan in action
Now we’ve talked the talk we want to tell you how our principles translate into benefits for nature on ‘real-life’ developments. You’ll see examples on all of our sites across England and Wales, but here is just a taster of the sorts of environments we’re creating.
• Take a walk through our Heathlands development in Buckley, North Wales today and you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s always been this way. Completed in 2018, 313 new homes are nestled within the beautiful surroundings of a nature reserve and natural open spaces, complete with 45 wildlife ponds to assist with great crested newt conservation. But amazingly, much of this landscape is newly-created. If you took a walk here before the new development you would have seen an abandoned, unsafe industrial site - formerly an old derelict clay-pit and brickworks, which contained a huge steep-sided deep lagoon and surrounding ‘moonscape’. Our new development has delivered 3.8 hectares of public green space, including a children’s play area and 5.3 hectares of new nature reserve habitats – now managed by Wild Ground. It’s also provided a perfect great crested newt habitat, helping to triple the population between 2017 and 2018.
• At Caddington Woods, in Chaul End, Bedfordshire, we’re creating eight hectares of open space amid a sustainable new neighbourhood on the site of a former car storage facility. A legacy of green spaces and natural habitats includes retained and improved woodland and ponds, alongside new species-rich grassland areas with native planting and the creation of hedgehog highways. The site is forecast to achieve a brilliant 63% net gain for biodiversity – meaning the natural habitats on site now are so much better than they were prior to development.
• Built on the site of a former paper mill, Mill Meadows, in Sudbrook, South Wales, has successfully led to a breeding population of one of the UK’s rarest species of bat, the Lesser Horseshoe bat, being established where previously they only roosted. As this species don’t use bat boxes, a purpose-built bat house was installed to provide a new roosting place.
How you can help
There are lots of ways you can create a nature friendly garden but if you provide four key elements – trees, deadwood, water and a variety of planting – you can be sure wildlife will make a home there.
Installing bat boxes or bird boxes is another great way to provide safe homes for our furry and feathered friends. Where to put bat boxes is an important consideration. Our partners at The Wildlife Trusts have the following advice on where to site bat boxes: “Fix as high as possible in a sheltered, wind-free position, exposed to the sun for part of the day. They also have a great guide for how to make bat boxes on their website, as well as guides for how to make a bee hotel and how to feed birds in your garden.
We hope once you’re settled in your new Redrow home, you’ll enjoy plenty of time surrounded by nature and reap the benefits for your own mental and physical health. We’d love to see the wildlife habitats you’ve created in your own gardens, so don’t forget to tag us in your photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.