Put rotting logs in your garden to help the bugs who face extinction in a "sea of tarmac drives and concrete patios", nature organisations have said.

The Woodland Trust said that rotting wood is usually looked at with suspicion as British people are afraid it is dirty and carries diseases.

The organisation explained: "Dead and decaying wood can have negative connotations. When walking through a wood, people may see rotting logs or broken branches and think that the woodland is unhealthy or dangerous. In actual fact, the risks to people posed by decaying wood are usually small, yet the value to ecosystem health is enormous.

Leaving a pile of decaying wood at the bottom of the garden provides food and home to a plethora of fungi, thousands of invertebrate species,  and even birds and mammals, the organisation added.

The Wildlife Trusts agreed, adding that many British gardens are "part of a sea of tarmac drives and concrete patios", so space for nature is crucial.

They recommend sourcing logs from a firewood dealer and leaving them to rot, which provides habitat for birds, hedgehogs and frogs who will feed on the bugs attracted to the decaying matter.

hedgehog

Some of Britain's most famous show gardens now feature rotting wood as a way to encourage wildlife.

Guy Barter, the Chief Horticulturalist at the Royal Horticultural Society, told The Telegraph:  “Log piles and twig heaps provide an important home for wildlife and are a common feature in RHS gardens. Insects and other creatures lurk under and in rotting wood providing food for visiting birds, hedgehogs, frogs and toads”.

He recommended gardeners simply stack logs up in heaps 60-100cm high in out of the way shaded parts of the garden.  Logs will take some years to decay and are best left undisturbed.  Knock in stakes on each side so the logs don’t roll.

Emma Gilmartin, Conservation Adviser at the Woodland Trust said, “Leaving dead wood in your garden might result in your most exciting garden finds. Logs and litter piles provide important refuge and cover for reptiles and amphibians, whilst invertebrates living in dead wood can serve to attract predators such as hedgehogs.