In our ongoing drive to promote biodiversity at the Marsh, Paul put in an application with the Woodland Trust to receive some subsidised hedgerow tree packs for the Apiary site. We have to be careful about access for diggers to clean out the drainage channels (sewers) but inside the Apiary and the newly-fenced reptile sanctuary would be perfect as they are protected from grazing, and the hedges will provide different habitat for the fauna on the Marsh – and forage for our bees in the case of blackthorn and hawthorn.
On the strength of this application, we met today with Nick Shanks, who came to discuss our project on behalf of the Woodland Trust. We walked down to the Apiary and were pleased to see, as we arrived at the reptile area, what a positive impact a couple of weeks without the herbivores had done for the sward:
There are buttercups and bird’s-foot trefoil which we are really pleased about, as we are keen to encourage flowers that are already there rather than buying in, so this was an encouraging sign.
We will be receiving our subsidised tree packs in the autumn, and as well as hedge plants, we will also place some larger trees – standards – such as oak and cherry within the smaller trees which will provide even more opportunities for wildlife as they mature. As the area is fenced off from grazing stock and we do not have deer or rabbits to deal with, we will hopefully be able to avoid the use of plastic tree guards which would be a real blessing. We walked back across the other side of the Marsh and looked at the bramble stands which are another area we would like to investigate developing in to more targeted wildlife areas. We are looking forward to seeing how the hedges get on as part of our longer-term plans for the site.
On our way back to the car park, Paul spotted a common lizard basking on a warm brick which is a good sign regarding the influx of reptiles we will soon be welcoming to the Marsh. With thanks to Nick for coming along and helping us with our ideas.