A remarkable group of people are acting and speaking out for wildlife on the doorstep of Ipswich, says Laurie Forsyth
‘April’ – what a beautiful sound that is. Spring is in the air, and spring is in my steps as I walk down Burnet Close, and into Marbled White Drive: on my right is Forester Close, and almost opposite is Clearwing Close.
These are pretty names, and by now someone will know exactly where I am – Ipswich, on its southern fringe where Belstead Brook meanders through its valley. The town looms large, pylons stride across the landscape, and the muted rumble from the A14 is endless.
The road names are those of butterflies, moths and other insects that lived here unmolested for centuries, before the houses came. Opposite Lacewing Close, I leave the houses behind and enter Kiln Meadow. It is another world. When I was here last summer, the grass was high all around me, and insects were clambering on the hogweed and meadowsweet. Patches of scrub and young trees dot the grassland, and old hedgerows are nest sites and song posts for blackbirds and whitethroats. This meadow is clearly a fine home for wild flowers, birds, small mammals and invertebrates.
Given the pressure to build more and more homes, you might have expected these wild acres by now also to have vanished – replaced perhaps by Woodmouse Walk, Slow Worm Close and Lizard Lane: but no – those animals are known to be still here, in Kiln Meadow. This very spot where I am standing might have ended up as no. 22 Grass Snake Drive, but for a remarkable stand made by determined local people.Buy Now