Across the UK, biodiversity has been in steady decline. Since the 1930s, lowland wildflower meadows have been reduced by a massive 97% and wildlife dense hedgerows decimated to make room for monoculture crops. At WWCE, we’re committed to reversing those trends through effective land management across our sites.

Evidence shows that when we prioritise wildlife, biodiversity gains can be achieved across a range of plant and animal species. That’s why we manage our two largest solar energy installations at Chelworth and Braydon Manor according to detailed landscape and ecological plans.

At Braydon Manor, we’re working to increase the biodiversity of the grassland between and around our solar panels by encouraging a proliferation of wildflowers. Meanwhile, our Chelworth site is managed by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust in partnership with WWCE. Sitting next to the Blakehill Farm Nature Reserve, we’re working hard to make sure that the management of our solar installation allows the wildlife habitats on the Reserve to expand and flourish.

How do we do it?​


Creating a diverse grassland habitat between and beneath solar panels and at site margins. Grassland is grazed by sheep for part of the year with a buffer zone between the outer-most solar arrays and hedgerows to provide a habitat for butterflies, reptiles, small mammals and other invertebrates, as well as offering good foraging grounds for birds of prey including Little Owls.


Bird, bat and owl boxes have been installed to encourage nesting and roosting for a range of species.


The dense, thick hedgerows are cut (outside nesting season) in rotation once every three years to allow flowering and development of a range of species. This cutting regime favours the rare brown hairstreak butterfly that lays its eggs on 1st or 2nd-year blackthorn growth. Our most recent ecology report shows that the number of hairstreak eggs observed is increasing, with record numbers recorded.


The pond and surrounding vegetation is maintained as a reptile and amphibian habitat. Single Great Crested Newts have been recorded in the pond and elsewhere on site hibernacula and log/stone piles have been left to provide shelter.


WWCE is one of just four solar farms in the country to have been selected to take part in an exciting beekeeping project. The Solar Bee project, run by the Naturesave Trust,  involves WWCE hosting two innovative ‘Thermosolar’ beehives. The project will help to establish the effectiveness of these hives in protecting bees from the varroa mite as well as introducing new honeybee colonies to the site. 

We’re also working with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to develop further habitats for other natural pollinators, including ground-nesting bees.


Image Credits: Eleanor Dodson, The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and the WWCE Team.