URBAN and suburban householders are being encouraged to turn a patch of their garden into a wildlife haven this winter.

Representatives from the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership are advising people take small steps to help birds, insects and wild animals to survive as the temperature drops.

Simon Wilson, the AONB’s project development officer, said that offering a warm place to hibernate and regular food and water to wildlife could be the difference between life and death for some species.

He said: “It is all about making space for nature.

“In a little part of the garden, pile up some logs or branches to make a dry area for hedgehogs.

“Little dens can be built with bits of carpet. Bricks with holes in are great for insects to live in and bits of bamboo will help any individual bees or wasps.

“If there is anything you can imagine insects and small animals living in, then they probably will.

“Putting fresh water out every day in frozen weather is very important for birds, and keep bird feeders stocked up with mixed seeds and peanuts.

“The temperatures have already started to drop and we’ve had our first snowfall.

“If this winter continues as long as last winter did then we’re looking at five months of freezing temperatures.

“For a small mammal, or a bird, that’s an incredibly long time.”

To find out more about the North Pennines AONB Partnership visit northpennines.org.uk