From Dover to Dundee, London to Leeds and Cardiff to Cambridge, there is much more to our towns and cities than concrete and cars. Take the time to listen and look and a world of wildlife is there just waiting to be spotted. As Britain's largest city London is alive with wildlife and Jules Hudson takes a journey across West London in search of just a few of the feathered, furry and winged residents that call the city home.
As the day begins, Jules meets David Lindo, aka The Urban Birder, who takes Jules for a walk across Wormwood Scrubs, the 183 acres of open land close to the prison of the same name. This is David's patch, his 'garden' where he says he has had the privilege of seeing Meadow Pipits, Woodpeckers, passing Northern Wheatears, Honey Buzzards and even nesting Skylarks. Leaving David doing what he does best, looking up to the skies, Jules joins Jan Hewlett at the Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve. Cut off from the surrounding area by railway tracks in the late nineteenth century, this reserve in a corner of Chiswick has developed into a lively ecological community which became one of London Wildlife Trust's first reserves when it was saved from development by a local campaign. Jan takes Jules on a walk through the woodland of the reserve, which is home to an array of birdlife, butterflies and bats, as well as hedgehogs and field voles, to the pond to discover what creatures thrive there.
Leaving Jan taking in the peace of the Triangle, Jules continues his journey to the home of Kelly Gray where he finds some surprising residents in her back garden. Longing for the rural lifestyle, Kelly has brought the countryside and the idea of life on the farm to Brentford. Introducing Jules to Rosie and Jim, the pigs that share her back garden with the ducks and chickens she also has, Kelly explains why she took such such a huge decision to bring the countryside in to her West London garden.
No urban wildlife story would be complete without the gardener's best friend, the hedgehog. Jules rounds off his journey with a visit to the home of Sue Kidger in Twickenham from where she runs her hedgehog hospital, caring for orphaned and injured hedgehogs with the aim of releasing them once again to secure gardens. With Sue is Hugh Warwick, self-confessed hedgehog obsessive who tells Jules about an initiative to safeguard the future of hedgehogs whose numbers have been declining rapidly in recent years. As Hugh says, a hedgehog friendly garden is a wildlife friendly garden.
Presenter: Jules Hudson
Producer: Helen Chetwynd.