Moat Park undertakes a huge rewilding project across the village grounds
The team at Moat Park is passionate about rewilding. Rewilding is the process by which we restore existing ecosystems to the point where nature can take care of itself. It’s all about getting the balance between nature and people right so the natural environment can thrive. The project is a huge undertaking for the team and we are starting to see fantastic results from the efforts.
The project began almost 18 months ago when, Tony & Stuart, the grounds team at Moat Park, started to explore the wildwood area of the community and built some bug hotels, and put up bird boxes. They have been selective in the way they cut undergrown back to allow native species change to come to the forefront. This area of the community didn’t see much use so they thought it would be a great place to start the process. The area is a couple of acres and includes Oak and Silver Beech trees. Tony noticed the area becoming more popular with birds and found if you sat quietly you could hear many different species in the canopy – Robins, Finches, Tree Creepers, and Black Caps migrating across from Africa, have all been spotted.
As the project grew they started to look at ways to improve the meadow land in the community. A huge 97% of wild meadow across the UK has disappeared since the 1930s, mostly driven by agriculture and the use of insecticides. They took part in “no-mow May”, which involved not cutting the grass, apart from a path for residents to walk across, for the whole month. This gave wildflowers, that act as pollinators a chance to grow, helping any local bees in the area as well as increasing biodiversity overall. Stuart has been keeping a log of the native flowers that have come up in the meadow – Creeping Buttercup, Oxeye Daisies, Red Clover and Birds Foot Trefoil have all been spotted. They have been delighted by the results and have been able to spot butterflies in the meadow as well as additional insects.
Overall there are six acres of grounds for Tony & Stuart to nurture and residents to enjoy. Since they started the project they’ve spotted more wildlife on the grounds as well. There’s a Grey Heron who regularly comes to stand by the pond, Sparrow Hawks and Red Kites have been spotted. The most exciting development has been that a Great Crested Grebe has chosen to nest on the grounds. These birds are native to the UK and are often found in ditches and streams, there’s been a lot of work across the UK to increase their numbers, so having some on the grounds is a privilege.
Stuart, Head of Groundskeeping, comments, “It’s been a good experiment and I’m delighted to see all our hard work is starting to pay off. Sustainability is a key goal at Retirement Villages, so to be able to contribute to it in such a positive way from Moat Park gives the team real pleasure.”