No matter where you find yourself nature has always managed to make a home. Inner cities are not always considered the greatest wildlife destination but first thoughts can sometimes be incorrect. Take Radipole Lake for example, located in central Weymouth, a place always busy with the bustling of people and the constant noise of traffic weaving its way through the cluster of traffic lights. However when you enter the reserve somehow the outside sound of the town just becomes white noise in the background as you focus in on the chattering of a warbler or listen to the fizmer of the reeds (Yes those of you who watch Springwatch I did just use a spring word). The paths beneath your feet are maintained nicely for easy access and wheelchair use but the plants around you grow tall, forming arches above your heard, with the fluttering of red admirals as they fly to the buddleia. You can be lost in this small island of a reserve watching the sand martins fly across the skies or waiting hopefully, listening for a sign of bearded tits or bitterns, both star species of the reserve. It is only when you look up from the reeds across to the horizon that you can see the warehouses and shops, making you remember your location is in the centre of town not out in the countryside, although this is quickly forgotten as another bird darts across the path in front of you.
It could however be argued that these small patches in the centre of town are not viable for the long term, being just that ‘small islands’ fragmented from the wider landscape, meaning their future is far less secure as climate changes and species disperse. Then again isn’t it important that we save the ‘green sanctuaries’ we already have, if they are suitable for bearded tits and bittern then they must be good. Although they may not be supporting a diverse gene pool or helping to significantly increase future resilience, they are doing one important thing, which is to connect people to nature. So for example when a child goes to see the ducks at this reserve, albeit a small patch, it might just have inspired the next generation of conservationist, something which is equally important.