13 May 2013

What would my garden have looked like 30 years ago?

Our Green and Pleasant Land series has exposed worrying declines in the natural world across the UK. But what about in your back garden? Check out the interactive graphic.

In the last few decades, we’ve lost 44 million birds, almost all of our hedgehogs, and the majority of our wildflower meadows. Some scientists have warned that Britain’s “green and pleasant land” is at risk of becoming little more than a misty-eyed memory.

On the other hand, some species are gaining ground as climate change makes the UK a more hospitable homeland. Otters, polecats and dragonflies have all seen significant recent boosts.

But what do all of these grand figures and sweeping totals mean for your back garden? However big or small, most people are used to hearing sparrows chirp, leaves rustle and even glimpsing the occasional sign of some of our rarer species, from hedgehogs to butterflies.

You would probably miss even the more unpleasant species – from beetles to spiders – if they were gone. Click on our interactive graphic above to explore how the changes in Britain’s flora and fauna have changed how your garden looks – and to see what it would have been like just a few years ago.