Tiverton’s Hospital Wildlife Garden wins from entries across Britain and Ireland
In April 2005, members of Exe Valley Rotary Club, led by founder member Gavin Haig,, designed and created the community wildlife garden in the grounds of Tiverton hospital.
Covering some 40 x 10m the garden is separated from the adjacent sports field by a stretch of Devon bank – itself a valuable habitat, and is viewed from the adjacent medical wards allowing patients and staff alike to enjoy the garden and its inhabitants.
RIBI 2018 National Environmental award for
"creating an extensive wildlife garden in the grounds of Tiverton Hospital providing a habitat for birds, insects and small mammals."
Native trees, including the guelder rose, blackthorn, wayfaring tree, hawthorne and holly are planted along the Devon bank, providing year-round habitat for birds, insects and small mammals.
Nine islands of wild flowerbeds were created, each delineated by honey coloured Ham stone, and containing a mixture of native plants wild flowers and herbs known to be attractive to wildlife (such as meadowsweet, lungwort, dame’s violet, hemp agrimony, oxeye daisy, rosemary and lavender.) Vigorous intruders such as dock, dandelion and coarse grasses are regularly weeded out.
Early purple orchid, snowdrop and cowslip enhance the margins of the garden each spring.
Two live willow sculptures grace the area, one in an arbour with seating and the other representing a tree trunk in which blackbirds have nested..
A signboard explains the importance of maintaining wildlife areas in our increasingly pressurised environment.
A purpose-built hedge hedgehog box enables watchers to see hedgehogs (in season) wandering the garden at dusk.
A magnificent black poplar is the natural centrepiece of the garden, carrying different types of nest box in the hope of attracting
a wide range of creatures. Robin and spotted flycatcher favour the open fronted box while Mason bees have colonised the insect nest box. The hole fronted box has proved an ideal home for members of the titmouse family and there is also a high nesting box for bats.
Dead wood is known to provide food and shelter for amphibians and reptiles as well as mammals, so two deadwood piles are placed to attract sloworm, grass snake, frogs, toads and small mammals such as bank vole. There is also a slate area under which beetles and slow worms can find refuge.
An abundance of stinging nettle on the bank provides food plant for small Butterflies such as Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Red Admiral while the provision of carefully selected coarse grasses attract grassland and meadow butterflies such as Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Gatekeeper.