Wildlife Continues To Thrive At Clayton Wood Natural Burial Ground

Wildlife Continues To Thrive At Clayton Wood Natural Burial Ground

It’s not quite a partridge in a pear tree but seven different species of bat have been recorded at a natural burial ground in the South Downs National Park.

The results are part of the latest monitoring surveys at Clayton Wood Natural Burial Ground, in West Sussex, which shows wildlife is continuing to thrive.

The burial ground works closely with the local Wildlife Trust to ensure it makes a positive difference to the local environment.

Arcadian Ecology, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust who carried out the biodiversity monitoring, recorded a total of four small mammals including common shrew, field vole and wood mouse. Plus there was evidence of blue tits and great tits using bird boxes installed on site.

But the bats weren’t quite as shy as a bat detector recorded 194 passes of at least seven species of bat over 29 nights. The common pipistrelle lived by its name and was the most common but there were also calls from soprano pipistrelles, Daubenton’s bat, Natterer’s bat, long-eared bat species, noctule and serotine.

Karen Glover from Clayton Wood Natural Burial Ground said: “We are incredibly fortunate to be set in 15 acres of countryside but we need to make sure we manage it responsibly. We have the opportunity to not only protect our wildlife but to also help it to thrive by giving them the habitats they love. This is why it is so special to see the survey results and know our hard work has been worth it.”

Possible evidence of dormice was also found this year as there were the beginnings of a nest in one of the 25 dormouse tubes erected in March.

The natural burial ground has a mix of meadows, wooded glades, short mown paths, pond, reed bed and diverse boundary hedgerows.

Sarah Jackson, Senior Ecologist at Arcadian Ecology who has been working with the burial ground, said: “The management on site is helping the burial ground to become part of the surrounding landscape, providing additional food and sheltering opportunities, and connectivity through the landscape for a range of species.”

For more information on Clayton Wood, visit www.claytonwood.co.uk