Wildlife in the Rainham Hall gardens

The nearly three-acre community gardens at Rainham Hall are a haven for a variety of urban wildlife, including butterflies, birds and amazing insects like stag beetles.

Our community gardens are situated in the heart of Rainham, in the London Borough of Havering, surrounded by industry and transport links. Despite these challenging conditions, the gardens are home to a wide variety of wildlife and we're creating a green space that provides a suitable habitat for all.

As we develop our landscape and planting, we're always looking at what we introduce, and challenge ourselves to see if there is a way to encourage wildlife. For example, when creating our bosquets we planted a new hedgerow, which will be great for nesting birds in a few years. Recently when laying a new path in our woodland are we incorporated large logs along the path to provide a home for insects. Small changes can make a big difference. Last year we found two stag beetles in the garden, which is a great sign for this endangered species.

A stag beetle found in the Rainham Hall gardens
A stag beetle found in the Rainham Hall gardens

Our new wildflower meadow features a twisting and turning forget-me-not river shaped like the River Thames. The meadow looks magnificent in May, which it is full of colour and buzzing with life. To further enhance wildlife in this area, we built an insect mansion in the image of Rainham Hall, which is situated in the middle of the meadow. Our mansion provides a fantastic habitat for insects and is a helpful educational tool for children visiting the gardens.

With 6 local primary schools within walking distance of Rainham Hall, and a pre-school nursery located just across the road, it's important to us to educate our youngest visitors about wildlife in the gardens. Our Community Gardener runs an after-school gardening session on Wednesdays which teaches children about beneficial insects, the role worms play in composting, and how to make a garden that is great for humans and wildlife.