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Neighbourhood nature areas

We have launched the Neighbourhood Nature Areas scheme to help you add ecological value to small areas of land that we currently manage, such as road verges and small open spaces.

Use this page to find out about the project, which areas are suitable and how you can get involved.

About the project

We are creating new wildlife habitats in parks by planting new wildflower meadows, habitat grassland, and planting thousands of new trees across the district, as part of our efforts to tackle the Climate and Ecological Emergencies.

There are hundreds of road verges and small open spaces in urban areas across the district. We want to hear from volunteers that want to help improve these spaces.

Get involved

Anyone can apply to set up a Neighbourhood Nature Area, including individuals and neighbourhood groups.

If you’re interested in looking after a small space near your home, please follow this process:

  • Use our online map to identify if the land is managed by our Parks team.
  • If the land is managed by our Parks team, contact us by email at, to check if the land is suitable to be gardened.
  • Once the location has been agreed in principle, speak to the immediate neighbours of the space to see if they are happy with the change, or if they want to get involved.
  • Get back in touch with the Parks team to confirm plans, discuss concerns and sign an agreement detailing the specific area and plan. We will review this agreement every year.

We will still own the land, and new Neighbourhood Nature Areas will be added to our maintenance maps to ensure that our teams don’t cut them by mistake.

If you can no longer maintain the land as a Neighbourhood Nature Area, or if the terms of the annual agreement can’t be met, then we will continue to maintain the land in line with our maintenance policies.

What you can do

If we designate the small verge or corner of open space as a Neighbourhood Nature Area, you can begin to plant flowers and other plants on the site.

You must use plants that are good for wildlife, including:

  • spring bulbs
  • herbaceous perennials
  • wildflowers

You must keep pathways clear by cutting plants that encroach onto pavements.

We will also send you a 'Let's Get Buzzing' sign to mark the land as a Neighbourhood Nature Area.

What you cannot do

You cannot plant anything that could damage the site or harm local wildlife, including:

  • poisonous, prickly or pointy plants
  • invasive weeds
  • woody shrubs or trees

You should not add anything to the sites to re-landscape the areas. You cannot add:

  • stones
  • sleepers
  • fences
  • hard edgings

Unsuitable areas

Areas that are not suitable for this programme include:

  • Road verges in areas where the speed limit is higher than 30mph
  • Areas where volunteers need to work on busy roads
  • Verges near junctions where vegetation needs to be kept low to maintain ‘sight-lines’ for traffic
  • Large areas - we may ask you to start with a small section initially
  • Areas in parks that already have an active Friends group