Unique ‘Estate Agents’ for wildlife bucks the trend by moving on to the high street.

Whilst the ‘death of the high street’ seems to be a staple of both local and national news reports, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is taking its successful retail operation, based at its Attenborough and Idle Valley Nature Reserves, directly to the high street by opening a unique ‘Estate Agency’ selling homes for birds, hedgehogs and other wildlife in Beeston, Nottingham.

Whilst many modern estate agencies selling bricks and mortar for humans have chosen to base their businesses online, the charity launched ‘Attenborough’ Estates within the nature centre at its popular Attenborough Nature Reserve last year. 

Attenborough Estates Pop up shop
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Tom Marshall

The brainchild of Tim Sexton, Manager at the Wildlife Trust’s Attenborough Nature Centre, ‘Attenborough Estates’ offers a range of ‘des res’ home for everything from birds, bats and bees to hedgehogs. Complete with special window display highlighting the range of properties available, the idea is to promote the fact that a wide range of specially designed wildlife homes are now available for people to install in their gardens and to encourage people to think about helping our favourite wild creatures by getting on the wildlife ‘property ladder’.

By using techniques perfected by traditional estate agents the charity explains the benefits of key features and individual styles of wildlife homes, from bird next boxes to hedgehog houses and insect lodges. 

Deborah Meaden Attenborough Estates

Following the success of the approach, which saw Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Deborah Meden to ‘invest’ in her very own wildlife home when she visited Attenborough Nature Reserve, a further ‘branch’ of the estate agency was then opened at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve near Retford and now, thanks to a partnership with C P Walker and Beeston Civic Society, the business has moved into a temporary home on Beeston High Road, next to Greenhood Coffee House. 

Speaking about the initiative Tim Sexton of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust said: “We wanted to find a fun way of encouraging people to think about how they could do more to help wildlife in their gardens so we adopted tried and tested sales techniques used by estate agents. By focussing on the features of individual wildlife homes we hope to encourage more people to make space for wildlife in the gardens and now is a great time of year to be installing nest boxes, giving birds plenty of time to check them out before spring.” 

The charity’s trading team have been on the lookout for opportunities to expand and hopes the new ‘pop up’ wildlife estate agency in Beeston will provide shoppers with a range of alternative gift options in the run up to Christmas and generate much needed income to support the work of the charity at Attenborough and across the county.

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Dale Sutton

Tim added: “Whilst the estate agency approach is a bit of fun, providing homes for wildlife can make a real difference so we are hoping to generate a lot of interest. A key element of our retail success at our centres is being able to share our knowledge and passion for wildlife with customers and now we’ll be able to do this on the high street. Attenborough Nature Reserve and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust have always had great support in Beeston and the town centre has a great mix of shops, cafes and bars, so we’re looking forward to welcoming people to our new additional temporary home.”

A wide range of bird nest boxes starting at just £8.99 will be on sale from today as well as homes for insets, hedgehogs and bats. All profits from sales will support Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s charitable work which includes caring for nature reserves, standing up for wildlife within the planning system and delivering environmental education opportunities for people of all ages. 

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is the county’s largest locally based wildlife charity and was formed in 1963, in part due to the fight to save wildlife habitat at what is now the Attenborough Nature Reserve. The site has provided a much loved home for local wildlife for decades and was formally opened as by Sir David Attenborough in 1966.