May 04 2021

A home for wildlife at Hucking Community Orchard

Hucking is a magical landscape and if you haven’t visited – you really should! The Woodland Trust is also extremely fortunate to have a dedicated group of local volunteers who care for the orchard there and they have been extremely busy of late!
The team were keen to develop the community orchard as a haven for wildlife so last year they had meetings with a local pond warden in regards to developing a small wildlife pond, and have also met with a conservation officer from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust who offered some fantastic advice on ways to make the orchard more pollinator friendly.
Here’s just some of the tasks that volunteers have undertaken in recent months…

Bee lodge at Hucking

Common lizard

 

Development of the wildlife pond

 

Living log – fantastic for fungae and invertebrates

 

Slow worms

 

Mother Common Frog

 

  • Surveying existing reptile refugia and creating additional spaces, including an aptly named serpent shelter
  • Developing a small wildlife pond- the pond is currently ephemeral in nature and although valuable to wildlife, we are investigating the benefits of making this bigger and potentially holding water for more of the year given how dry our weather has been! A mother frog found it a suitable location for her spawn this spring, but due to the drying out of the pond the volunteers swiftly moved all they could to another watery location.
  • Wildflower friendly unmown margin and small scarified plots have been scattered with yellow rattle and native wildflower mix- yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor is a hemiparastic plant and will help to reduce grassy monoculture allowing more diverse flora species to prevail
  • Creation and installation of two handbuilt bee boxes for Bombus species that may readily nest in disused mouse burrows and tree cavities- the volunteers are also considering making a bee hotel for solitary bee species
  • Development of a flint wall (many dug up from the ground!) alongside the flora rich border to allow invertebrates extra opportunities for shelter
  • Installation of a bird box suitable for treecreepers and similar sized birds

 

We are in absolute awe of this special site and the hard work that has been carried out there. We can’t wait for future updates and what a great example of how our volunteers contribute so much to the work of the Woodland Trust. Thank you so much to you all. 

 

Words: Anna Claxton,Volunteer Development Officer (South East) and Claire Inglis (Assistant Site Manager, Kent)

Photographs courtesy of Hucking Orchard Woodland Working Group

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