A key focus at The Garden House is supporting and promoting wildlife. Enabling people to enjoy the rural environment and the creatures that it supports is a very important part of what we do at The Garden House. Wildlife considerations are embedded in our management decisions on the estate. We strive to find the best compromise between maintaining enjoyable access for visitors and allowing wildlife to thrive.
Diverse Flora and Fauna
We have been encouraging diverse regionally appropriate plant life and creating habitats for a wide range of creatures by:
- planting native woodland
- leaving some areas of ground rough for habitat value
- putting up nesting boxes for birds and bats, which have been made by volunteers, and a barn owl box which was kindly donated to us
- installing a hedgehog home
- leaving deadwood piles and creating dead hedges for insects and other creatures,
- creating wildlife friendly ponds with varying depths and gently sloped edges for creatures to access and escape the water
- encouraging, sowing and planting a diverse range of plants valuable to wildlife – such as pollen and nectar rich plants for our honey bees, wild bees and other insects; and seed and berry producing plants for bird food
- planting and nurturing native hedgerows – which we hope to traditionally lay in due course
- encouraging damp areas adjacent to the ponds for marginal plants
- creating a ditch environment leading into the woodland pond
- creating a stumpery to encourage invertebrates
Timing of Management
The timing of management activities is considered to minimise disturbance to wildlife and for maximum gain. For example, avoiding disturbing nesting birds by not felling any trees or disturbing hedges between March and the end of September, and mowing after grass and flower seeds have had the chance to develop for rich and diverse plant life.
Linked Wildlife Networks
In encouraging wildlife, we are aware of the need for wildlife to move through the landscape. The Living Landscapes approach run by Surrey Wildlife Trust supports the understanding of landscape scale conservation and the importance of individual places making up the wider landscape and the value of their connectedness. With this in mind, we are carrying out practices such as rotating mowing patterns to leave continuous swathes of un-mowed grass through which creatures can find some protection, live and move. Hedges and linking thick plant cover are also a valuable part of this network for wildlife, which we champion.
SWT have advised us on aspects of developing and managing The Garden House and they have held a wildlife gardening session at The Garden House. We have been SWT ‘Wildlife Friendly Garden – Gold Winners’ in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and hope to continue and improve on the standard! We have frequently worked with Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) and value the work that they do.