Banging the drum for biodiversity
The summer weather never fails to bring out the best of our main site in Pembridge, Herefordshire.
With the peaceful surroundings blending ancient woodland, bustling hedgerows and rolling fields, it’s small wonder that we are so passionate about sustainability. To help guide our own practice, we naturally wanted to get a better understanding of the local wildlife and, in 2006, we commissioned a biodiversity assessment of the site.
The in-depth ecological report looked at every aspect of wildlife on the site: from wildflowers and hedges, to insects and birdlife. The report really brought home the diversity of the plants and animals. For instance, 15 species of birds visited the site during the first study period, including swallows, goldfinches and house martins. The study also provided a clear short, medium and long-term environmental measures action plan for how we could improve life for our resident creatures.
In 2008, we implemented this plan, working with university students and local school children to establish new habitats such as a honeysuckle wall, bee boxes and bug hotels.
The biodiversity reports are now carried out every two years, providing us with regular feedback on our progress and informing our continual improvement. We have also continued to involve local schools in the work and, in 2014, the students were even able to show their handy work to HRH Princess Anne when she paid a visit to the Pembridge site.
The most recent ecology survey, carried out last summer, showed that the nesting boxes established following the first report now support a number of breeding pairs including several tit species and house martins. Encouragingly, the survey also identified that a colony of red-tailed bees (Bombus lapidarius) had made their home in the hole of a collapsed rabbit burrow.
The study also extends to our nocturnal visitors with static bat detectors showing that the site is inhabited by both soprano pipistrelle and common pipistrelle. During the autumn, whiskered and brown long-eared bats also stopped by, probably on migration to a winter hibernation site.
To find out more about the goings-on at our UK sites, take a look at our Sustainability and Responsibility Report.
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