BBCH Ecological Survey

As well as providing beautiful surroundings for our residents, the grounds at Bernhard Baron Cottage Homes also offer an attractive habitat for wildlife.

An ecological survey has shown that the site, and the way it is managed, attracts a wide variety of different species and the mature oak trees were described in the report as “a triumph”.  We commissioned the survey to find out if the grounds were providing suitable wildlife habitats and if there was anything more we could do to encourage wildlife. The study was carried out by Prim Duplessis from The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) South East.

The Preliminary Ecological Assessment, formerly known as a Phase 1 Habitat Survey, recorded a variety of birdlife including blackbird, robin, house sparrow, dunnock, chaffinch, great tit, chiffchaff and, of course, the ubiquitous herring gulls and pigeons. We also regularly see green and great woodpeckers and there are regular visits from a kestrel.

 

It was noted that we do not use any fertiliser on our lawns, resulting in a good range of species, and areas that are left long to allow seed set further promoted species diversity and provided insect habitat and bird foraging opportunities.

 

The report also said: “There are scattered trees and shrubs, both native and non-native ornamentals across the site giving age and structural diversity as well as species diversity. A discreet patch of common spotted orchid is particularly pleasing, and the current late cutting practice allowing seed set will enable this flower to continue to spread. There are a number of mature oak here, with girths exceeding 1.98m suggesting they are at least 80 years in age, and probably more. They are already displaying splits and holes associated with longevity, providing habitat for birds and bats.”

 

Whilst the primary function of the grounds is to provide an attractive and welcoming environment that is safe for the residents to access, the survey said our gardeners provide as many opportunities for wildlife and biodiversity as they can. This includes leaving areas of grass long and cutting them late, composting, not using fertiliser on the lawns, light management of less visible hedges and allowing the woodland area to “do its own thing”. 

 

The survey stated: “The oaks are a triumph, and are carefully monitored each year by a local tree surgery company who check limbs and crown for safety. Every effort is made to retain them in this urban landscape.”

Click on the PDF to read the full survey and findings

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