Biodiversity at ARK
What is Biodiversity?
As custodians of the earth’s resources of land, soil, air and water here we want to do all we can to care for them, working with the biodiversity already here and in ways that enhance it even more.
We have been gradually getting to know more about the plants, animals, insects and birds here.
We’re making a plan for the coming years in how we can enhance the natural habitats and manage them for wildlife. This will become woven into everything we offer to our visitors.
our biodiversity plan at ARK
The hedges are full of birdsong and the Blackcaps are particularly melodious at the moment. Hedges provide roosts, nesting sites and food sources for a great number of species. . They are wildlife “corridors’ for birds, bats, small mammals and insects, so linking them to one another and to woodland is essential for wildlife to move around.
Trees and woodland
The scattered trees and hedgerow trees, and the woodland, are full of leaf now and they too offer roosts, nesting sites and food sources for many creatures. Woodpeckers need big old trees to make their nests in hollows in the trunk or branches. Trees are a vital part of capturing carbon from the atmosphere for healthy air and to help slow global warming.
Warmth and rain means the meadow areas are growing fast and are beautiful with wildflowers, particularly Meadow Buttercups, and early flowering grasses. They will become a haven for butterflies, bees and many types of insects. The combination of flowers, seeds and insects are fantastic food sources for many birds, bats and small mammals.
The new pond is already attracting insects, frogs and swallows swooping across the water surface for insect food. It will gradually be colonised with aquatic and water-edge loving plants and will provide a huge addition to the biodiversity of the site.
The veg patch is well underway and many crops will soon be relying on pollinating insects from the surrounding meadows, hedgerows, trees and gardens. No pollinators no runner beans. In turn the blue tits and blackbirds will help with garden pests such as greenfly and slugs. We want to make sure the veg garden benefits from the biodiversity which surrounds it and that both garden and wildlife work together hand in hand.
The rougher and barer ground of the animal paddocks is home to many less noticeable species. Pied Wagtails bob along the ground searching for seeds and grubs in the soil. Swallows and House Martins collect beak-fulls of the wet mud to build their nests and blackbirds line their nests in this way. Beetles, ants and flies feed on dung and break it, putting nutrients back in the soil. These too are part of our wonderful web of life.
Our Biodiversity Expert
Alison “Ali” Templeton
I grew up on a mixed dairy farm in Kent and studied at Wye College, the agricultural college of London University, for a BSc degree in Rural Environment Studies. My working life was with local authorities, the first half being with Buckinghamshire County Council in countryside management, and then in a variety of roles in Somerset including housing, community and partnership development, social care and heritage.
Since leaving work I have returned to my first love, nature conservation, and have volunteered over the last three years with a farm conservation cluster and a land-based residential recovery centre, both in Dorset.
I am delighted to be able to contribute time and skills with ARK at Egwood so we can enhance the biodiversity of the site for all who come here, and for the natural species themselves in all their diversity, beauty and fascination.