Elaine Delay of Walk on the Wild Side of Matilda writes:
Walk on the Wild Side of Matilda is made up of a growing group of residents. We are children and adults who are interested in and want to protect the wild side of Matilda House. We have a beautiful, mature, over 80-years-old garden that surrounds our building and with that comes the perfect habitats for many kinds of beautiful birds, bats, bees, flowers and insects.
We think we are very lucky to live surrounded by such a wealth of nature. Last year, with the support of the Council’s Biodiversity Officer John Archer, Matus Holecko and Lee Johnson from Tower Hamlets Homes and Elaine from Tower Hill Trust, as well as our general interest and curiosity about our wildlife, we have been able to initiate three lively projects, they are:
- Encouraging the return of House Martins to Matilda House
- Herb and Wildlife Garden Project
- Bat Enquiry
Encouraging the return of the House Martins to Matilda House
Tower Hill Trust awarded Matilda House Leaseholder Association a grant that enabled us to buy a selection of bird boxes. The main bulk of these boxes were to encourage House Martins. In the past, House Martins would nest around Matilda House, however the dormant nests were removed a few years ago and the birds never returned. There has been a colony of House Martins nesting nearby beside the river and we wanted to encourage them to move back to us, well at least some of them.
We have bought some double nest boxes (see header photo) and some single boxes. Residents who live on our top floor wanted boxes outside their flats and we also decided to install some boxes in other areas and now we wait to see if they return.
We also put up some hole-fronted nest boxes on the ground floor, around the outside of Matilda. These boxes are designed to encourage garden birds, in particular Blue and Great Tits, which flutter around us regularly.
Herb and Wildlife Garden Project
Lee Johnson and his team from Tower Hamlets Homes Gardening Group have kindly reconfigured some misused storage into raised bed planters for us. They have also provided us with earth and plants for us to grow our own herbs, and a wildlife garden. This initiative will encourage insects, such as bees and butterflies, which all support our wild side.
We are very pleased that each evening the local bats fly around us to feed. That is about all we know; we’re not sure which type(s) of bats they are, where they are living and where they hibernate. From the grant money kindly given to us by Tower Hill Trust, we have bought a bat detection kit, which supports us to lead our enquiry about our local bat population.