We are lucky to have around Watlington beautiful natural habitats. From our precious chalk grasslands to our rare chalk streams, from the beech woods filled with bluebells and wild garlic to our ancient hedgerows rich with native species to old oak trees and meadows to the gardens and green spaces in the town. The Green Plan, a collaboration between Watlington Climate Action Group and other conservation groups in the town aims to protect and restore these habitats to enhance biodiversity and sequester carbon in the face of climate and ecological emergencies.
Last summer, community groups came together to raise awareness of these habitats and their importance to the animals, insects and birds that rely on them. This event, the Green Plan Art Trail, encouraged us to look more closely, to appreciate, and protect the nature around us. There were public artworks, such as Toby Trout and Helena Hedgehog, and the picture frame that can still be seen in the garden at the Spire & Spoke. There were information boards, family activities, and expert speakers. And there was storytelling.
That event inspired the writing of the book, “Wild Watlington, The Creatures of Watlington Parish” by Nicola Schafer. It’s a tour of just some of what can be found on our doorstep. Written as a storybook, it is full of information that will be appreciated by young and old alike, as we learn about the habitats that make up our landscape and the creatures that share it. The book was illustrated by young artist Eleanor Short, who is a Year 8 student at Icknield Community College, and the artwork for the book is on display in Watlington Library in July, and The Granary Café in August.
The book is on sale at our local refill shop So Sustainable on Watlington High Street, priced at just £5, and books and limited edition prints are available on the website http://www.wildwatlington.uk