Encouraging Wildlife Across the West End
The Portman Estate has four garden squares within its boundary - Portman Square, Bryanston Square, Montagu Square and Manchester Square. As historic private gardens, these spaces are only accessible to local residents for the majority of the year. They are effectively a shared private garden for the hundreds of local residents who live on each square. However, each space contributes significantly to the wider biodiversity value of the area and has huge benefits for local wildlife.
The Portman Estate: Bryanston Square Gardens
In the 2018 Wild West End survey, Portman Square, Bryanston Square and Montagu Square were all assessed to be of ‘high’ biodiversity value. The Portman Estate recognises the responsibility that comes with this contribution to biodiversity and wildlife in the West End and so, along with each garden committee, the Estate works hard to maximise the biodiversity value of the gardens across the portfolio.
All four squares host extensive leaf litter areas (fallen leaves that are deliberately piled up under bushes), providing an ideal home for insects. Log piles and bug hotels have been introduced to further increase the insect population and hence the ability of birds to feed and thrive in the gardens. Bird boxes have also been installed in potential nesting trees throughout the gardens.
The installation of nesting boxes has supported a number of bird species with juveniles. Birds frequently spotted in the quieter gardens include the great spotted woodpecker, wrens, blackbirds, wagtails, starlings, magpies, carrier crows, blue tits and wood pigeons. Findings from the Wild West End 2018 survey indicate that these birds use Montagu Square particularly for nesting locations and then utilise the other squares as feeding grounds.
The Portman Estate: Montagu Square Gardens
Bats have also been noted to be flying nearby, and again are likely to be using the gardens to feed. Portman Square gardens also hosts an unusual long-standing resident for a City Square. A single rabbit, named Charlie by the residents.
Although in private residential use for the majority of the year, the traditional metal railings allow the public easy access to view the gardens from the perimeter. For those more curious, the gardens can usually be accessed by members of the public on Open Square Gardens weekend in the summer and during events held through the year by The Portman Estate and its partners.
The Portman Estate
Area of green space:
Approx. 5 acres