There’s been a huge amount of publicity about the little things we can all do to help wildlife in our gardens and the wider area around us. Some of this has included things such as ‘No Mow May’ promoted by Plantlife as well as planting more pollinator friendly plants in our gardens.
Our local councils are also contributing by cutting verges less and allowing the wildflowers to thrive by the roadside. Small contributions such as this can make a huge difference.
How Verges & Wildlife Corridors Help Wildlife
Since the Second World War, Britain has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows – about three million hectares. It’s estimated that verges can support over 700 species of wildflower, or nearly 45% of our total flora. Managed verges could produce 400 billion more flowers and act as wildlife corridors, allowing insects and mammals to travel alongside the roadsides. These wildlife corridors allow movement of wildlife as well as links to other populations, preventing them becoming isolated. Tis is becoming increasingly important the more urbanisation and residential construction increases.
Wildlife corridors include hedgerows, railway tracks, tree lines, rivers, streams, gardens and ditches. However, these areas need to be managed properly in order for the wild flowers and therefore wildlife to thrive. Cutting the verges less and later is particularly important. Local councils have been managing roadside verges for wildlife and putting the money saved from less cutting towards other environmental projects.
Species that you might find in a wildlife corridor or roadside verges include yellow rattle, frog orchids, voles, bees and birds such as the willow warbler which nests in these wildflower areas.*
*Source: Countryfile Magazine
Wallops Wood is in a wonderful position; not only is it situated in the South Downs National Park, but also in the beautiful Meon Valley, and only twenty minutes away from the coast. These areas provide Hampshire’s wildlife, flora and fauna with rich habitats allowing them to thrive and encourage biodiversity.
With regard to species, Hampshire has the greatest diversity of species than any county in England. Over 40% of the priority species that are identified in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan are also found in Hampshire. This Action Plan outlines species of particular concern and includes birds, plants, reptiles, mammals, amphibians and insects; 493 of these can be found in Hampshire.
Almost a quarter of Hampshire is designated for its wildlife importance, supporting greater biodiversity than any other county. Hampshire has the greatest variety of dragon flies in Great Britain and Hampshire County Council owns and cares for five National Nature Reserves.
What We’re Doing at Wallops Wood
Here at Wallops Wood we’ve also been managing our meadow area to allow wildlife to thrive. To do this we’ve created a 2 metre wildlife corridor hedge separating our meadow and the surrounding farmland to encourage a wildlife habitat. It’s allowing small animals such as voles, weasels, stoats and shrews to manoeuvre between habitats creating a feeding ground for our barn owls, red kites and buzzards. We’ve placed owl and bat boxes around the site to encourage these species.
At Grenville Copse, the amount of ash tree dieback was disappointing, and we were sad so many dead trees had to be cut down. This dramatically altered the woodland but a benefit has been an increase in the amount of flora and fauna due to more daylight reaching the woodland floor. The woodland management plan is to recreate the coppice surrounding our new holiday houses and to increase bat and dormouse populations with an ongoing survey of these protected species. Ask us about it when you visit.