These Topsham residents are really angry about a new wildlife…

Several Topsham residents have taken to social media to vent their fury over a new wildlife and community garden.

Angry critics say the wood-built, family friendly area built to attract wildlife, is a further example of ‘urbanisation’ in the town.

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The community and wildlife garden, installed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) near the bird watching shed on the Goat Walk, includes a picnic area and easy access for wheelchairs and for pushchairs.

The RSPB say 90 per cent of comments they have had have been positive.

But the remaining 10 per cent aren’t quite so enamored.

Ginny Tilly, on Topsham’s Facebook page, said the RSPB had put in “an abominable ill-conceived garden.”

She added: “What we love about the Goat Walk is the rural escape to nature. Now we have 20mph road signs along the route too. Please stop this urbanisation.”

Another unhappy resident, Gabrielle Lyne, said: “How can it look natural with that odd bridge and garden plants. Sorry but it is in the wrong place.

“Since the RSPB have had the nature reserve in Bowling Green Road they have done nothing but urbanise it, with ugly signposting and now this ridiculous garden.

“They appear to be a law un to themselves with too much money, they are ruining our environment. Think it should be brought to the attention of our local councillor to try and do something about it.”

Roger Webster said: “There’s nothing wrong with an outdoor classroom for schools but please put it in a school, or an urban park perhaps, not here on the rural fringes of Topsham where people come for a walk precisely to get away, for half an hour, from urban development.

“The bird hide itself is relatively inconspicuous, modest, and serves a laudable purpose in encouraging people to study and appreciate their surroundings. This garden is far from inconspicuous – it leaps out at you because it is so utterly at odds with the rural landscape.

“I find this shocking and offensive, particularly when carried out by a wealthy conservation body and in an area well loved and used by the local community and of international significance to birds/wildlife.”

“The RSPB have wrecked it with their urban style sign posts and urban style garden, it is twee and inappropriate.”

The RSPB say they hope the garden will engage young people and families in particular, and help visitors see how they could make their own gardens more wildlife-friendly.

Hannah Durdin, who has taken her family for a trip to the garden, said those complaining were “bloody grumpy.”

“I genuinely do not know it can be described as being urban. It doesn’t seem out of place at all. It is a nicely done up garden that is trying to encourage kids to become the next generation of bird watchers and nature lovers.”

She said her kids had “a great time” and saw lots of different types of bug and creature – including a Canada Goose.

As far as wildlife is concerned, there is a pond, and plenty of places for amphibians, insects, and mammals such as hedgehogs to sleep, nest or hibernate.

The plants have been chosen to provide year-round nectar for any number of insects, in particular bees and butterflies.

The RSPB reassured that, as plants mature and become more established, the garden is sure to blend in with its surroundings.

They will also allow the edges to become quite wild, which should further help the garden blend in with the immediate surrounding area.

Tony Whitehead, the RSPB’s public affairs manager in the South West, said: “I can’t imagine a more benign thing than a wildlife garden and I’m really disappointed that a few local people feel like this when we have had lots of really positive comments about it from visitors.

“It’s there to enhance people’s enjoyment of this beautiful place, especially young people.”

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