Protecting nature at The Weir Garden

A spindly spider walking across a leaf in the garden

Many creatures and insects have made this scenic riverside garden their home. Find out how we manage the gardens in a way less damaging to wildlife.

Our volunteers have recorded over sixty species of birds here at The Weir Garden. Our natural habitat encourages water loving birds such as kingfishers, cormorants and swans as well as countryside dwelling birds such as treecreepers, wagtails and at least four kinds of finch. Many of these creatures visit to feed and breed so we carefully manage the gardens to create as little disruption to wildlife as possible. 

The riverside garden provides a home for many smaller birds such as robins, wrens and blue tits. In the springtime you may see them here bustling around collecting materials to nest with and in late summer you may spot their young perhaps learning to fly or having a feed. We always leave patches of the garden wild to ensure the birds and insects residing here always have a safe place to eat and retreat. 

Leaving wild spaces also provides a home for small mammals such as rabbits and mice which can quite often be seen scurrying across pathways, over trees roots and into the safety of their dug-out safe spaces.  Patches of long grass and weeds and flower heads left to seed offer a nutritious diet for these creatures and helps deter them from eating the vegetables inside the walled garden.

An inquisitive wren
A wren leaning from a thin branch
An inquisitive wren

Resident otters have also chosen their spot at The Weir. Tiny footprints have been spotted along the riverbank and inside the boathouse. Shy creatures, they have only ever been spotted once or twice here but the footprints keep appearing, showing us they are still active here.

The walled garden is also planted generously with perennials, such as Goat’s Rue Alba and chives. These encourage pollinating insects such as bees and hoverflies which help maintain the garden. To control pests, the gardeners introduce a predator, a tiny wasp-like insect called Encarsia Formosa which lays its eggs in whitefly pupae and eats the larvae from this pest once hatched. This organic approach to maintaining the garden means the space is incredibly bee and butterfly friendly. 

Orange Tip Butterfly
A close up of a Orange Tip butterfly
Orange Tip Butterfly