Nature & Growing Food
‘When the land, sea and soil are healthy, so are we; as we are one’
In order to save ourselves, we must first save nature and recognise that we are a part of it and not separate to it. By following the ‘biodiversity’ hierarchy we can go some way to reducing our impact on nature and restoring our connection with the natural world.
The following is a list of projects, businesses, and tools and campaigns available locally that will help to protect, enhance and restore our natural environment.
Campaigns & organisations
Colchester Natural History Society was formed in 1953. It exists to promote the study and conservation of our local wildlife. Regular indoor meetings are held on a range of subjects, as are outdoor meetings at various sites of special wildlife interest. As well as producing a regular newsletter for members, the Society occasionally publishes books on local wildlife. Membership of the Society is open to anyone with an interest in local wildlife, at whatever level. Membership applies or join the Facebook group.
Colchester in Bloom is a community organisation who’s aim is to generate community involvement in making Colchester town a more beautiful place to live and work and contribute towards social and economic vitality.
GoodGym helps you get fit by doing good. A group of runners that combines regular exercise with helping the community. This group will help with litter picking, tree planting, community gardens etc. Get involved or ask them to help with a project.
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is the only UK charity focused on tackling the problems caused by pesticides and promoting safe and sustainable alternatives in agriculture, urban areas, schools, homes and gardens. View their resources and existing campaigns and see if you can help to raise awareness and stop the use of these harmful weed killers in Colchester and surrounding areas.
Pesticide Free Essex is the local action team concerned with raising awareness of the dangers of pesticides, working with PAN UK. Get in touch to help and for free advice and resources.
Support the work of the Essex Wildlife Trust Visit their centres across Colchester or why not volunteer or fund raise.
Support and follow the Save the Middlewick Ranges campaign which is trying to put a stop to development on a natural and diverse greenspace in Colchester.
Colchester Countryside Volunteer Rangers A wide range of volunteer tasks are undertaken by Volunteer Rangers at 15 sites throughout Colchester. Based at Highwoods Country Park. Further information.
The blue campaign promotes the rewilding of our gardens, parks, road verges and school grounds. It suggests that a part of this ground is set aside and left to grow through the summer. A blue heart symbol, made out of recycled materials, is staked in the ground over the area being rewilded. This communicates to neighbours and friends that rewilding is in process (and that it is not just the owner or council being lazy!)
The National Garden Scheme gives visitors unique access to over 3,700 exceptional private gardens in England and Wales, and raises impressive amounts of money for nursing and health charities through admissions, teas and cake. Register your garden or search for a local open garden.
Support Bees in your garden by displaying one of Eco Colchester’s bee friendly wildflower and pesticide free posters. These posters are available for your business or organisation to add their logo to here
Together we grow are a Not-for-profit Social Enterprise improving the lives of communities and individuals through encouraging engagement with nature and in particular with Food Growing. Their HQ are at the beautiful Big Garden located in High Woods Country Park Colchester. If you’re local to the area and want to get involved, get in contact to join or volunteer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re local to the New Town area, why not join in with the New Town Community Garden, The garden is run by volunteers wishing to build a community, create a beautiful space for wildlife and relaxation and grow edible and non-edible plants. If you can help please. contact email@example.com
If you’re local to the Shrub End area and want to join a community allotment to grow your own food & learn new skills with like minded people. Join All in the Making at Irvine Road. Contact Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has launched Grow Social a schools and communities initiative to bring people together to tackle loneliness. It aims to harness the power of plants and gardening to encourage groups of people to make new connections within their community. You may wish to set up or get involved with a local community garden.
RHS Britain in Bloom More resources here for Community gardens.
Social Farms & Gardens is a UK wide charity supporting communities to farm, garden and grow together.
Cultivation Street Free resources for community gardens, and opportunities for schools, home owners and community gardens to win prizes.
Stay at home, Grow at home Abberton Rural Training Project have developed resources and packs to get you started at growing your own food at home.
If you would like to take on an allotment in Colchester, you need to apply through Colchester Borough Council.
Colchester Allotments is a Facebook group for asking questions and sharing knowledge to help grow better in the Colchester area.
Colchester Foraging Network is a Facebook community to learn about foraging and harvesting publicly accessible edible plants in the local area and offer group foraging support.
Gardening Items and Surplus Produce in Colchester is a Facebook group set up to prevent waste and encourage community building through the swapping of surplus food, seeds and other gardening items.
The Potting Shed Club is a Facebook group set up by Anglian Water to help facilitate the sharing tips on growing a great garden, creating a happy home and encouraging local wildlife.
Beth Chatto’s Plants and Gardens are experts in plants suited to our region and experts in drought gardening. Explore their gardens and purchase from their nursery.
Perrywood Tiptree Experts in gardens and plants, on their website you’ll find very useful and environmentally & wildlife focused resources.
Take inspiration or purchase a green roof system from the highly regarded Grass Roof Company located in Basildon. You can view their range of bike and bin shelters and community garden ideas.
If you have a tree in your garden or local to you, you can check if it has a Tree Preservation Order and if not, then you can request for trees to be protected by submitting a request to Colchester Borough Council.
TCV Essex TCV’s work in Essex is very diverse. You could be tree planting one day and enhancing an urban nature reserve the next, coppicing woodlands for wildlife or improving access for people with boardwalks and bridges. If these type of task interest you then why not become a volunteer for TCV. Based in Colchester with plenty of tasks undertaken locally.
Composts and Water Butts
Get Composting Offer discount compost bins and water butts for the Colchester area.
Anglian Water Direct offer discount water butts and composters.
Love Essex offer great advice and tips for home composting.
The Hedgehog Preservation Society offers help and advice to those with sick, injured or orphaned hedgehogs and maintains a list of rehabilitators in the UK.
Hedgehog street was set up with the Hedgehog Preservation Society in response to the decline in hedgehog numbers. The campaign was set up to encourage anyone with a garden to make a hole for access for hedgehogs, to share sightings of hedgehogs, share information and become a hedgehog champion.
Join Essex Hedgehog Watchers UK a local Facebook group for people to discuss their sightings of their nightly visitors, share their stories and photos videos etc.
If you find an injured wild animal get in touch with Wildlives Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre located in Thorrington, Colchester.
Get involved with Essex Wildlife Trust 30 days Wild challenge, an annual event that encourages you to do something ‘wild’ every day for the month of June, whether it be tree gazing or building a log pile for insects.