Swindon forest meadows project
The Swindon forest meadows project is a joint project between the council and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. It aims to create, restore, enhance and better manage grassland sites covering approximately 170 hectares focused on 12 sites.
It has created new areas of woodland, scrub and grassland at Mouldon Hill country park, new woodland and river restoration at the Rivermead Flood Storage area, and provided support for community projects throughout Swindon, including, Shaftesbury Lakes, Raybrook Meadow, The Prinnels, Foundation Park and Penhill Haven.
The programme is funded by Swindon Borough Council through developer contributions and other biodiversity grants, and will enhance the management and wildlife of existing grassland areas, including, where possible, the reintroduction of wildflowers and more traditional management of the meadows.
Following the success of this programme, supported by large numbers of local volunteers, it was agreed in 2023 to extend and expand the project.
Five ‘Community Pocket Woodlands’ are being created in 2024, along with a forest garden and tree nursery in partnership with Central Swindon North, South Swindon and Haydon Wick Parish Councils. These are all within urban locations and will connect people with trees and provide nature rich habitats to support urban wildlife. Further Community Pocket Woods are planned for 2025.
Events, activities and opportunities
You can view the latest events, activities and volunteering opportunities to help Wiltshire Wildlife Trust with the project, and book a session, at Swindon Forest Meadows project.
No two weeks are the same, but sessions may include:
- bee walks at Mouldon Hill to record and monitor bumble bees
- checking small mammal footprint tunnels at Clouts Wood nature reserve in Wroughton
- planting trees at Rivermead flood storage area
- regular Thursday volunteer days at Swindon Lagoons nature reserve
- sowing wildflower seeds at Tadpole nature park
- family friendly wildlife days at Shaftesbury lake
As well as Clouts Wood and Swindon Lagoons, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust manage three other nature sites in Swindon which the public can visit:
- Morningside Meadows – five fields near Royal Wootton Bassett which have an abundance of wildflowers and are ablaze with colour in summer
- Hagbourne Copse – a pocket of woodland in west Swindon that provides a breathing space for wildlife
- St Julian's Community Woodland – a small, newly planted, broadleaved wood in South Marston near Swindon that will reward regular visitors as it develops and matures