Step 4: Firm up your ideas into a plan and policies

Now that you’ve surveyed your land, you’ll want to manage it better for nature. But where do you start?

For inspiration, RSPB Scotland’s James Silvey shares how he manages his garden for nature.

Now that you know what types of habitats exist in your area, you might want ideas on how to conserve, manage and restore them for nature. For quick suggestions about what you can do for nature see our cheat-sheet.

Other ideas are below.

  • Managing road verges for nature: Road verges are home to almost half of the UK’s wildflower species. These flowers in turn provide a home to many different species of pollinators. So how do you manage these verges for nature? Think about when you want to cut them; key road verge cutting rule is where growth isn’t tall and lush, delay cutting the verges until August!

If you’re a local council who manages verges, this is a pretty simple way to manage a habitat in a way that works for nature. You may want to seek ecological advice from consultants or wildlife groups. If you don’t manage road verges but would like to help – get in touch with your local council.

Check out this guide for more detailed information.

  • Plan for brownfield biodiversity: As you’re aware, brownfields are an important habitat, despite appearances. They can be great habitats for insects and other invertebrates; this is because they provide a variety of different habitats close together in one space. Check out these step by step guides from buglife to get an idea of how you can manage brownfield sites for butterflies, flies, ground beetles and bumblebees.

If you work in planning for a local authority, this guide will help you understand how planning policy on brownfield sites work, and how you can work with it to manage brownfields sites for nature.

  • Hedgerows and Cornish Hedges: Managing Hedgerows is a great way to contribute to nature recovery. Think about when you want to trim hedges; the shape, size and type of hedge; and where you could create new hedgerows. Check out this guidance for more information.

Cornish hedges are unique to our heritage, but also provide great habitats for nature. Learn more about how to restore them here.

  • Create a ‘Hedgehog Recovery Programme’: Did you know that hedgehogs are considered vulnerable to extinction in Britain? This is due to a multitude of reasons, including: modern farming practises damaging their habitats; the fact that they need to roam a mile every night to get the food they need; difficulty in finding mates due to development.

There are a lot of things you can do to help them.

  • Plant specifically to help pollinators in your garden or allotment: One of the biggest problems for pollinators is the lack of flowering plants. Planting specifically for pollinators will allow them to feed. Choose a sheltered sunny spot, place each plant in groups, choose flowers with a simple structure and add herbs to the mix. For more information on how to manage your garden for nature better, see here.

  • If you’re a local authority and want to manage your assets better for pollinators, see here.

  • Create microhabitats such as bee-boxes, hedgehog homes, nesting boxes for birds and log and stone piles for invertebrates, toads and slow worms.

  • Plant a community orchard: planting a community orchard is great for wildlife and also for helping you get back into nature with you friends, family and local community. Check out Cornwall’s guide for creating a community orchard here, and general guidance here.

  • Ditch pesticides: Pesticides may be useful, but most pesticides don’t discriminate against what they’re killing. They will kill your target species, but also other wildlife. Trialling alternatives is a great way to be friendly to nature.

  • Manage grassland better for nature: If you own a piece of grassland and have surveyed what’s already there, you will want to consider how to manage it. Think about how often you will mow it and what kind of cutting tools you’ll use. For guidance on how to create a wildflower meadow, check out this guide, and this video.

  • Create ponds for wildlife: Animals and plants have evolved to live in ponds over millions of years. Creating ponds that mimic clean wild ponds is a great way to restore pond wildlife. Have a look at this pond creation kit for a step by step guide.

  • Manage your churchyards: There are lots of ways you can manage your churchyards better for nature. Think about the grassland, hedges, microhabitats, and even small things such as the lichen on gravestones. Check out this guidance for more information.

  • Managing woodland: Maybe you own woodland? Check out this guidance on where to start with managing it.