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Litten: Nature’s gift

It feels like you are being transported into a secret garden when you walk through the gate of the Litten Nature Reserve, reports Neelum Bains. It is an oasis of calm and natural beauty just metres away from some of Greenford’s busiest roads.

The reserve was awarded gold, and category winner for small conservation area, at this year’s London in Bloom competition. With winding paths that lead you from one pleasant surprise to another, the reserve is made up of lots of unexpected pockets including a story circle, ponds and a bug hotel.

A place to learn

A committed team of Ealing Council’s park rangers and

Camp fire and learning circle
Camp fire and learning circle

volunteers have created a wonderful space for people of all ages to go and learn about nature and the environment. With the support of the group Friends of the Litten, the reserve is a place where young people from local schools, such as Belvue High, can go to take part in fun and educational activities and help with task days to create and maintain the reserve.

There is an on-site classroom that can seat up to 30 pupils, ideal for any weather conditions, and there is always plenty to explore outside. During educational visits, young people spend most of their time outside in the reserve, exploring wildlife, natural habitats and learning about the importance of conservation.

‘Be inspired’
Jon Staples with the London in Bloom award at Litten nature reserve
Jon Staples with the London in Bloom award at Litten nature reserve

One of the park rangers, Jon Staples (pictured), said: “We believe that by helping people to engage with nature in a positive way, they will hopefully be inspired to bring their learning into their own lives and to enhance their own understanding of the world around them. Many of the habitats around the reserve can be re-created in people’s gardens on a small scale, such as the bug hotel, and we hope to inspire them to try it – especially the children who visit.”

Slugs, snails and stag beetles

Homes have been made for different types of bugs in a collection of mini-beast hotels around the reserve. They provide a place for small creatures to rest and nest, including beetles, centipedes, slugs and worms. The ‘hotels’ are made out of decaying wood and dead branches, making the structure ideal for little bugs and beasties to climb inside and hide from anything bigger that might try to eat them. And for the more adventurous explorers, there are lifting logs that you can look under and find out what lives underneath.

To arrange a visit, email Jon Staples at jostaples@ealing.gov.uk

Volunteers wanted and welcomed

If you have some spare time, enjoy spending time outdoors and want to learn about conservation, then the Litten is the place for you.

They are looking for volunteers of all ages and abilities to visit the reserve and spend time enjoying the habitat whilst helping the park rangers manage and develop the site for conservation.

Volunteers of all ages are very welcome. Anyone taking park in the task days will need to wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear. Tools and training are provided by the park rangers.

For more details about the conservation task days email Jon Staples at jostaples@ealing.gov.uk or visit Bubble – the council’s website aimed at helping residents connect with each other and make a difference to where they live.

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