In November 2023 we began work to renovate our Sensory Wildlife Garden, which sits within the Millennium Country Park. The aim of the Garden is to provide a scaled-down version of the larger Park for visitors with reduced mobility, so they can enjoy the plethora of nature's benefits that the Park offers, but on an accessible scale. It's a peaceful place for quiet contemplation where people, who might not enjoy the busier Park, can enjoy a rich sensory experience from plants and nature to benefit their mental health and general well-being. The Sensory Wildlife Garden is now 22 years old and has been in dire need of refurbishment and updating to ensure it continues to offer an area of escape, relaxation and reflection. 

Habitat creation is also at the forefront of what we do as a Charity, and the Sensory Wildlife Garden has a key role to play here too. Our renovation plans will improve existing habitats and create new ones for insects, aquatic life, birds and small mammals.

Left to right: great crested newt, common blue damselfly, reed warbler.

So far, we've dredged the pond and cleared some of the reedbed. This was a major part of the project and essential to prevent the pond from silting up. The next step is renovating the pathways to create a more even, accessible pathway that isn't subject to flooding! Then we'll be refurbishing the raised beds, which are currently crumbling, planting them with species that appeal to sight, smell and touch. Next will follow the planting of native hedgerow to border the Garden, a willow tunnel, bog garden, celebration wall with seating, bug wall and sculptures.

Work in progress as volunteers, staff and contractors work to transform the Sensory Wildlife Garden.

We already have funding in place for 80% of the project, so we just need to raise a further £12,000 so we can complete the project and make it the outstanding sensory experience and wildlife haven that we're aiming for!

To sum up the benefits that this project will deliver:

An accessible, scaled down version of the Millennium Country Park to be enjoyed by those with physical and mental disabilities.

A rich sensory experience including sight, smell, touch and hearing.

An area for quiet contemplation and reflection which will have a positive impact on mental wellbeing for those visiting.

Habitat creation for insects, aquatic life, birds and small mammals, including improving the habitat for our resident Great Crested Newts - a European protected species.

Making life easier for our gardening volunteers, who love and maintain the Garden plant life, giving them improved access to the raised beds.

Creation of an area designed to engage and improve the quality of life for those with sensory disabilities and mental health problems.

Reduced maintenance costs for the Charity, removing structures that are currently a drain on resources and replacing with materials chosen for their durability.

The Sensory Wildlife Garden project is being led by our Senior Ranger, Nicola Ceconi, with input and support from our volunteer gardening team. All of the individuals involved are invested in making the project a success and delivering an area of rich sensory experiences and a haven for wildlife.

Help us raise the funds to complete this project - make a donation today!