BADSHOT Lea Village Infant School has scooped gold in the schools category at the Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Garden Awards 2017.

Bee hotels, a new pond, a vegetable patch, lots of pollinating flowers, a sensory area for children with special needs and even nettles were just some of the wildlife-friendly features of the school’s wildlife garden to impress the judges of this year’s competition.

Judges said of Badshot Lea School’s entry: “Every corner provides habitat for wildlife including areas of long grass, hedgerows, native tree and shrubs. An excellent school wildlife garden.”

It comes after the Mayor of Farnham opened Badshot Lea School’s new pond in June following a project organised by community group The Badshot Lea Bloomers and supported by Farnham Town Council.

The school also won the best school garden and best flower in a boot prizes at this year’s Farnham In Bloom schools awards, collecting its trophies last Thursday evening at Squire’s Garden Centre.

Headteacher Gemma Ball said: “We are absolutely delighted with our SWT Wildlife Garden Award. We’re very proud of the school grounds and thanks to the Badshot Lea Bloomers, the pond meant we could go for gold this year.

“Our garden not only benefits wildlife but our children too, and our pupils were very involved in building the pond. We also have a very active gardening club and a class project on outdoor learning, so the children are outside as much as possible, learning and developing.”

There were nearly 150 entries in the SWT’s Wildlife Garden Awards this year - up from around 100 last year - and almost half achieved the top gold award standard.

Dawn Fielding, the trust’s wildlife gardening officer, said: “People in Surrey are passionate about nature and have created fantastic wildlife havens across the county - it has been a real pleasure to visit so many wonderful gardens to decide who would be this year’s award winners.

“When I visited the gardens I was looking for a range of habitats as this attracts a greater diversity of wildlife. Ponds, fruit trees, herbs, flowers throughout the seasons, hedges and trees, long grass and log piles – variety is definitely the spice of life for wildlife!”

The variety of organisations that took part this year was also encouraging. As well as individual gardeners, there were lots of schools, businesses and community groups - including a fire station, a burial ground and residential homes for the elderly.

All entrants whose garden qualified received a bronze, silver or gold certificate declaring their garden to be officially a wildlife haven. Gold award winners were also presented with a special commemorative plaque and the best gardens won a £50 Squire’s Garden Centres voucher.