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Northleaze School take their wildlife plans to the next level

Northleaze is on a mission for wildlife

Last year, the Eco-Council at Northleaze School voted to create a wildlife-friendly meadow within their school grounds. Successfully facilitated by the LANCE Trust, the pupils and the neighbourhood’s insects benefited from a fine display of cornflowers and ox-eye daisies.

Building on that success, a chequerboard of beds was created in late summer to grow a mix of wildlife-friendly domestic and native perennials. A second wildflower meadow followed and two beetle banks swathed in cardboard and tarpaulins over-winter. With 2022 but a distant memory, 2023 saw the arrival of a master in wildlife meadow-making for schools.

An eco-curriculum expert

Tom Walmsley lives in Abbots Leigh and has spent much time building up a support structure to help schools with eco-curriculum, outdoor education, and biodiversity

in their grounds. Director of the Environmental Education Project and Chair of the Avon Schools Eco-Network, Tom was just the person to take the Eco-Council’s ideas to the next level. Proud possessor of a turf-cutter machine, Tom got to work to create another vital strip of wild meadow. Removing the top layer of soil reduces the less-fertile sub soil which helps ensure the area doesn’t got overwhelmed by vigorous grasses.

Earthworms steal the show

The pupils soon got busy with trowels, slate to create signs raising awareness of the need for on-going careful stewardship of the area and creating a semi-circular banked seating area within the new meadow. As always, the sight of earthworms caused much excitement and created a great chance to spread the word about the importance of this eco-system engineer.

We talked about the importance of creating and maintaining wildlife corridors such as these pollinator-rich meadows and how, if Long Ashton doesn’t play its part, movements for many species between important habitats such as Ashton Court and Tyntesfield will be reduced and eventually may lead to local extinctions.

Although we left the new site as a sea of mud, we’re looking forward to seeing what springs to life in May & June this year. And with more projects for Northleaze School in the pipeline, we’re sure he summer and autumn of 2023 will continue to be productive, creative and fun. If you want to contact Tom directly, his email is or you can always drop us an email on

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