The Pond and Marsh
On the St Gregory’s school side of the park lies a 15 metre pond complete with a fully accessible pond-dipping platform. Here, all manner of aquatic wildlife – including frogs, dragonflies, damselflies, diving beetles, pond skaters, water stick insects, and newts – can be viewed at close quarters.
Butterfly Habitat Mounds
Surrounding the pond, two long, low mounds provide shelter and a variety of plants to attract nectar-loving insects such as bees, bumble bees and butterflies.
The Hazel Copse
Around twenty mature hazel trees are coppiced, with cuttings used for pea and bean sticks and to provide support for climbing ornamentals in the kitchen garden. The Hazel Copse contains red campion, wild primrose, and violets, and more wild flowers are planned.
Scattered around the park are extra habitats to encourage animals to make the park their home. These include a hedgehog house, solitary-bee houses, a ladybird/lacewing box, many bird boxes including a sparrow terrace, a bat box and log piles for hibernating animals and fungal growth.
The park has been designed to support many endangered species, with a slow worm ‘highway’ under construction to provide essential corridors for our protected slow-worm population. There have been many other sightings of rare birds and animals, such as bitterns and the elusive black squirrel.
The Bird Orchard
In the Bird Orchard, fourteen varieties of native trees and shrubs provide fruit for numerous bird visitors. Spindle, rowan and yew thrive, while honeysuckle and bryony, along with herbaceous plants such as woody nightshade and wild strawberry provide rich pickings for birds for at least six months of the year. The harvest starts with the wild cherry in June/July and ends with ivy in January.
The Demonstration Wildlife Garden
OUWG believes that any ordinary back garden can be made attractive to wildlife, and the demonstration wildlife garden has been designed to prove just that. The shrubs and flowering plants here are a mixture of wild and cultivated species. Both sorts have been chosen for their value to wildlife.
The demonstration garden provides nectar or pollen, seeds or berries, as well as roosting or nesting places for wild birds. Some of the plants – including cuckoo flower and bird’s-foot trefoil – provide food for caterpillars too!