Nature Conservation Lewisham

Get involved in Lewisham's parks and nature reserves


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There I was digging a hole….

Bridgehouse Meadows

Bridgehouse Meadows is a small site tucked away near John Williams Close. It may not look like much but it does have lots of interesting flora and fauna on site.  The Nature’s Gym volunteers have work there a few times and for 2 session in April and May the set to work building a bug hotel and a hibernaculum. This wasn’t our first attempt at creating either a bug hotel or a hibernaculum, but it was certainly the deepest and biggest so far.

It took two sessions to get through the layers of rubble, clay and flint and goodness knows what else(!), but we eventually made our hole big enough (3ms long) and deep enough (about 900mm)! Once the hole was dug we filled it with bricks being careful to remember to add tubing to allow for the reptiles to escape and finally added branches on top.  It is always tempting to see if anything has moved in, but we know that we have to leave it well alone.

The other volunteers got to work creating the bug hotel from bits of brick, rubble and logs found on site, while others created a smaller hibernaculum on the other side of the site with cuttings that had been left on site.

Bug hotel

Bernard would be proud!


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Building a bug hotel in Albion Millennium Green

Building a bug hotel

Building a bug hotel

The Nature’s Gym volunteers recently spent a very happy few hours at Albion Millennium Green. The Friends of Albion Millennium Green have been hard at work themselves recently, so there had been a lot of changes to the site. It was great to see it looking so loved and cared for and they really have done great work.  The volunteers were there to help with the footpath and some general clearance around the site. They also helped to build a bug hotel.  The volunteers are not new to this, having built one on a site in Lee a few years ago and one near Grove Park, but they do not mind building them because they are such fun to create . Bug hotels are also very easy to create and are great for attracting wildlife to your garden. Why not give it a go?

In the video below, our friends at the Horniman Museum show you how its done!


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Compost bin and bug hotel

This week the Nature’s Team were back in a very hidden away site in Brockley.  The last time were here we had to move 4 tonnes of soil around a narrow path way and down some steps to fill in some raised beds for food growing.  Coming back to the site almost a year to the day later, it is great to see that those beds are flourishing!

The raised beds are doing well!

This time we were clearing and weeding to get ready for more planting and building of raised beds.  The site is a real sun trap so hopefully all the new plants will do as well as the ones above.  Luckily, the volunteers were on hand to make sure everything weeded had a place to go!

Clearing and weeding

A few of the volunteers got to work on a compost bin and bug hotel.  We have made a few bug hotels in the past, but the compost bin was a new adventure!  For both we were able to use recycled materials.  The main frames of each were made using pallets.

Getting to work on the compost bin

Re-using pallets is a great way to make a compost bin and bug hotel

Once the bug hotel was built is was time to fill if with different material to attract different insects.  You can use all sorts of reclaimed materials and objects.  We put in bricks, straw and bamboo canes to name just a few.  All sorts of invertebrates might be attracted to your bug hotel, including nesting mason bees and leaf cutter bees, woodlice hiding from the sun – and woodlice spiders hunting woodlice.

An overview of the garden

There is still work to do here, so I am sure we’ll be back.  There are raised beds to be made, areas to be weeded, and we can always add more material to our bug hotel!


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Mayfield in the sunshine

The last time we visited Mayfield we had glorious sunshine and blue skies.  This time when we visited Mayfield we had glorious sunshine and blue skies – there must be something about the place!  At our last visit we constructed some raised beds, built a bug hotel and stag beetle loggery.  We all enjoyed visiting this site and knew that there was a lot more to do, so we were pleased that Anna was keen to have us back.

Busy as bees!

Building the raised beds

Some of the volunteers got to work on some more raised beds, small yet perfectly formed beds so people can learn to grow their own food. There are already a few beds here with things growing in them, so it was great to build some more so that others can get involved. 

While this was going on, a few people took on the tasks of weeding, creating an edged border and clearing the courtyard of weeds and bramble. All very imprtant jobs that have made a huge difference to the site.

weeding, borders and clearing

We also got to work on fixing up the bug hotel that we started last time.  Thanks to Judith from Glendale we had a few more materials to add to it including some pipes.  Anna also gave us some bamboo which is great for many insects.  Bug hotels are very simple and easy to make and can be very benefcial.  However, they don’t have to be big to be useful!  Just have a look at this great ideas from the RSPB and Gardeners’ World.

Our bug hotel

At the end of the day we were all hot and tired but felt as though a good days work had been done, looking back at the site at that afternoon was very satisfying!