Reflecting the importance of the conservation and biodiversity aims of our solar developments, the WWCE board has recently formed a sub-committee to lead the ongoing land management activity at the Chelworth and Braydon Manor sites. Observations suggest that biodiversity continues to increase on both sites. The new pond is establishing well at Chelworth forming an ideal habitat for our Great Crested Newts. Just a few days ago five frogs and a small patch of spawn were observed in the pond – spring is on the way!
Brown hares and roe deer have been observed at both Chelworth and Braydon with the latter site starting to show positive ecological improvements as the land and wildlife establishes following the disruption of the construction period in 2015-16. Several different bat species have been identified at Chelworth and there are plans to set bat and bird boxes at Braydon as well as perches for raptors.
The wildflower meadow habitat at Chelworth also continues to develop well and we are looking forward to seeing the flowers attracting even more birds and insects this year. At Braydon the grass has had a recent cut and the hedgerows trimmed in February before the cutting ban came into place on March 1st. We let the hedgerows grow freely now to protect the nesting birds and other animals that live there. Hedgerows provide food and shelter for many species, and letting the grasses grow protects wildflowers which provide vital pollen for bees and other pollinators The cutting ban is part of our action plan from now on.
The land management group is looking forward to further positive developments in the management of both sites as we move into spring and summer and we’ll be reporting on these through the course of the year.
At the moment, we are negotiating a contract to carry out the following actions:
- General habitat survey to determine the success of planting schemes, identifying & mapping any failures, identifying injurious weeds and recommending supplementary planting and treatments.
- Botanical survey identifying grassland species present using DAFOR abundance rating to determine species present and their change in abundance; this will help to determine success/failures of grassland development.
- General walkover survey for invertebrates, conducted in suitable weather conditions during spring & summer.
- Breeding birds – two visits – spring/early summer & mid-summer.
- Bat roosting & bird nesting box inspections.