New project launches to make Bicester wilder

A new 18-month project has been launched, bringing people and nature together creating a greener, healthier and wilder Bicester.

Published: Friday, 12th February 2021

The project, led by Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and supported by Bicester Garden Town, Cherwell District Council, Healthy Bicester and Bicester Town Council,  will encourage and enable residents of all ages and backgrounds to get involved and turn their homes and communities into wildlife rich spaces.

Councillor Andrew McHugh, Cherwell District Council's lead member for health and wellbeing said: “Bicester Garden Town is committed to protecting and enhancing the natural biodiversity of the area, while providing healthy, social neighbourhoods for people to live. Wild Bicester will play an important part in both these areas, monitoring the town’s eco-system whilst giving residents the chance to engage with the environment around them, offering an easy way to boost their physical and mental wellbeing. It gives our residents the opportunity to regain a sense of wonder at the beauty and diversity of nature on their doorstep.”

Wilder neighbourhoods are an essential part of our health and wellbeing. We know that people who spend time in nature are happier and healthier. Just a bit of time every day spent in nature can help relieve stress and improve mental wellbeing. The project’s programme of events and activities will inspire and support people and communities to get involved themselves.

Ed Munday, Community Wildlife Officer, BBOWT said:

“Nature needs to be part of everybody’s everyday lives and restoring nature can be the greatest generator of hope and happiness. We know many people in Bicester are already passionate about how their ‘local patch’ – whether garden, street, or their community space - could be greener and wilder and there is already some fantastic conservation work being done in the town. The Wild Bicester project is a hugely exciting opportunity for more people of all ages and backgrounds to get closer to nature in their everyday lives and be inspired and moved by its beauty and wonder.

“There is a role for everyone to play and together our local actions in Bicester can form part of the collective national and global effort for a better, wilder future with more nature everywhere.”

The UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world and we're losing more of our nature every day. New generations grow up more and more disconnected from the natural world around them, starved of the opportunity to enjoy the wonder of wildlife.

We need wilder neighbourhoods, towns and cities and this is where Wild Bicester comes in. Wild urban patches and green spaces in Bicester are crucial – offering essential homes for wildlife, connecting wild places and bringing wildlife, and the benefits of a healthy natural world, into our lives. Parks, allotments, school grounds and community spaces can all offer something for nature and, in doing so, can bring people together – creating healthier and more socially connected communities. Gardens can be teeming with life. Garden birds, bees, hedgehogs, foxes, frogs and insects can all thrive, if given a helping hand.

To find out more about Wild Bicester, and for ideas on how to take action for wildlife, visit: www.bbowt.org.uk/wild-bicester