Welwyn Garden City wildlife revealed on national television

PUBLISHED: 14:21 12 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:27 12 July 2017

One of the gardens filmed by the BBC.

One of the gardens filmed by the BBC.

Archant

Last night’s television viewers enjoyed a 90-minute wildlife programme filmed in Welwyn Garden City over the course of a year.

The BBC filmed a huge range of wildlife in Welwyn Garden City gardens. The BBC filmed a huge range of wildlife in Welwyn Garden City gardens.

Last night’s television viewers enjoyed a 90-minute wildlife programme filmed in Welwyn Garden City over the course of a year.

Presented by Chris Packham on BBC Four from 9pm, The Garden: Life and Death on your Lawn investigated a huge range of species, from moths to badgers, in five gardens in one undisclosed street, widely thought to be Barleycroft Road.

Filming started in July last year, with various academic experts using camera traps and other technology to assess what species used the gardens, and investigate their behaviour.

For instance, using fluorescent paint of four different colours, experts found that snails have a remarkable ability to find their way back to their favoured patch of garden.

A fox cub captured by an infra-red camera. A fox cub captured by an infra-red camera.

Mammals captured on film included badgers, hedgehogs and foxes, which raised cubs under wooden decking in one garden.

As well as much commoner species, birds filmed visiting feeders included at least one tree sparrow, now very scarce in Hertfordshire.

Other highlights included a spider changing colour to camouflage itself against a yellow flower as it pounced on its prey, and a heron gobbling a frog caught in a pond.

Former district council leader Dennis Lewis said: “My favourite bit was the snails with homing instinct.”

Tony Skottowe of the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust said: “It was great. It showed what a great variety of wildlife can flourish in our gardens, and not necessarily just wild gardens.

“My only issue with it was Chris Packham talking about ’suberbia’ when he was standing only about 300 yards from open country, as if we were a suburb of London.

“I love him to bits, but he does rather put his foot in it sometimes.”

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