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Railway stations creating 'wildlife hubs'

Words by Smiley Team

Railway stations are being transformed into hubs for wildlife thanks to an exciting new partnership between the The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and South Western Railway (SWR).

Through steps such as planting wildflowers, cutting holes in fences for ‘hedgehog highways’ and putting up nestboxes, the stations will act as refuges for wildlife in trouble.

This isn’t the first time these two partners have worked together. In 2014, the charity and railway company created homes for local wildlife such as bats and reptiles at three flagship stations in Surrey: Effingham Junction, Oxshott and Hinchley Wood.

Following on from this success, the partners will transform four more stations into wildlife-friendly gardens across the south of England: Sunningdale in Berkshire, Havant in Hampshire, Ashurst in the New Forest, and Brading on the Isle of Wight.

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At these stations, SWR and the RSPB hope to make these stations buzz with wildlife and provide homes for native species. They will sow wildflower meadows, put up nestboxes and bee hotels, and work with local groups to encourage residents and commuters to take wildlife-friendly actions in their own homes.

The partners chose these four flagship stations for their proximity to existing habitats and nature reserves, as well as their available space for wildlife. Brading Station on the Isle of Wight, for example, is next to the RSPB’s Brading Marsh nature reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Net positive by 2030

The RSPB will also support SWR in their goal to become a biodiversity net positive business by 2030 through everyday activities, such as the management of plants across their stations and depots.