Nature and biodiversity projects

Watford Borough Council's Nature-Friendly Practices:

  • We have maintained no-mow routines in our parks for a number of years, and continue to expand it year on year.
  • We don't use pesticides in our Green Flag parks, favouring more nature-friendly alternatives.
  • We provide free bags of compost to residents, made from garden waste that has been collected from local homes in the borough.
  • We use peat-free compost for all our operations.

Watford has a focus on increasing nature and biodiversity across the town. The following schemes are currently underway.

  • More trees planted - Large numbers of trees will be planted in green spaces and woods across the town. This is part of the council's plans to increase the town’s tree canopy cover from 18% to 20% over the next ten years after an ambitious Tree and Woodland Strategy was agreed.
  • 'Rediscovering the River Colne' - groundbreaking project aiming to bring the river to the heart of Watford, by increasing access, attracting back the original biodiversity and improving the quality of the river:
  • River Gade - working with Community Connection to improve the River and its habitats at Cassiobury Park. The team is thinning vegetation, clearing collapsed trees and willow roots to improve water flow and the wooden debris will be turned into habitat piles to support local wildlife. There will also be regular monitoring of the river’s flow level and litter clearing.
  • Whippendell Wood ancient woodland restoration project - aims to improve the structural and species diversity of the woodland to support more wildlife, improve access, create better links with the park and wider landscape, and fulfil our statutory duties in protecting this SSSI and keeping it at ‘favourable condition’ status.
  • Cassiobury Park 'Rewilding' initiative - stunning wildflower displays will take a year to establish, and by spring 2022 park users and wildlife will be able to fully enjoy these new habitats. The species that will be planted include Tufted Vetch, which attracts Bumblebees, the Garlic Mustard, an important food plant for caterpillar species and also the Sweet Vernal Grass and Crested Dogstails, both of which are a good source of food for the larvae of Brown and Skipper butterflies. A staggering 97% of flower-rich grasslands have been lost since the 1930s.
  • Cassiobury Park Nature Reserve Wetland restoration project - the restoration will return the watercress bed to an excellent wetland habitat for birds, like the snipe and the green sandpiper and for insects and mammals. It will also provide a large and relatively accessible site for observing and learning about nature. Works will include the removal of silt from the beds themselves, re-opening the river inlet, and clearing the flow channel and exit into the river.

You can get involved by volunteering on current projects.

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