Habitat

Hatchlands habitats

  • The 400 acres of parkland provides a number of different habitats © Dan Bennett

    Parkland

    Much of the estate is made up of open parkland.

  • The 400 acres of parkland provides a number of different habitats © Sue Streeter

    Woodland

    Towards the edges of the park you can find woodland areas, some of which are ancient.

  • The Sheepwash Pond in summer © Sue Streeter

    Water

    We have two areas of open water habitat with geese, frogs and dragonflies among others.

  • The Sheepwash Pond in summer © Sue Streeter

    Others

    If you look carefully you can also find areas of scrubland and hedgerow habitats.

  • The Sheepwash Pond in summer © Sue Streeter

    Plans for the future

    We've recently undergone a detailed habitat survey so we can make plans to improve our habitats.<...

Woodland

Areas of ancient woodland can be found at the edges of the park

Areas of ancient woodland can be found at the edges of the park

Beautiful broad-leaved and mixed plantation woodland can be found around the edges of the park. Oak, ash, beech, sweet chestnut and birch are all found here. Sections of this area, around Little-Wix and Great-Wix woods, are ancient woodland with oak trees dating back over 300 years.

These trees provide excellent habitat for a range of birds including all three types of woodpecker, for ten out of the seventeen species of bat found in the UK and for many common woodland mammals.

The woodland floor is home to wildflowers throughout the year with wood anemones, primroses, white helleborines and a vast carpet of bluebells in the spring.

Wildflower meadow

Cowslips are the first flowers to appear here in spring © Sue Streeter

Cowslips are the first flowers to appear here in spring

The wildflower meadow sits on an area of unimproved chalk grassland. The meadow is cut twice a year, in March to allow the flowers to stay ahead of the grass and in October once the last have died away. The grass is collected to avoid nutrients re-entering the soil because wildflowers prefer poor soil conditions.

Year-round flowers

You can see this common marsh orchid in summer © Dan Bennett

You can see this common marsh orchid in summer

In early spring cowslips are the first flowers to appear. The meadow reaches a peak in summer with three types of orchid, bird’s foot trefoil, field scabious, devils bit scabious and lady’s bedstraw. As the year comes to a close autumn brings a lot of red clover – an important end of year nectar source for bumble bees.

Wildflowers and wildlife

Butterflies and moths such as this skipper moth can be seen here © Dan Bennett

Butterflies and moths such as this skipper moth can be seen here

This meadow is important for a wide variety of insects including butterflies, moths and bumble bees. It will in turn attract a range of birds with excellent potential for reptiles such as grass snakes.

Open parkland

  •  © Sue Streeter

    Semi-natural pastureland

    These areas of the park have been left with little management intervention.

  • A herd of Dexter cattle graze on areas of the parkland © Dan Bennett

    Dexter cattle

    The grass is managed by grazing cattle making the parkland more attractive to plants and insects....

  • A herd of Dexter cattle graze on areas of the parkland © Sue Streeter

    Parkland trees

    These areas are scattered with oaks and sweet chestnuts as well as the occasional ash.

  • A herd of Dexter cattle graze on areas of the parkland © Dan Bennett

    Owl boxes

    On some parkland trees you'll see nesting boxes, designed to make life easier for our owl populat...

Open water

Sheepwash pond is a large, 2m deep parkland pond whilst rookery pond is a shallower, shaded pool. They contain small fish and aquatic plants with narrow reedbanks. They provide areas for wildfowl, amphibians and insects.

Dead wood habitat

Dead wood such as this beech monolith is left standing © Sue Streeter

Dead wood such as this beech monolith is left standing

Throughout the woodland and parkland the trunks of dead trees are left standing, where it is safe to do so. This dead wood can become important habitat for invertebrates such as beetles. This type of habitat is also excellent for fungi.

Dead wood invertebrates

The dead wood provides habitat for a variety of invertebrates © NTPL/John Millar

The dead wood provides habitat for a variety of invertebrates

After a survey in 2001 it was discovered that Hatchlands was home to a number of rare and nationally scarce species including various types of fly, beetles, woodworms, ants and wasps.

Area of national importance

Hatchlands is an area of national importance for dead wood habitats © Sue Streeter

Hatchlands is an area of national importance for dead wood habitats

This survey identified Hatchlands as an area of national importance, one of the top ten sites in England according to the Index of Ecological Continuity and in the top three dead wood sites in Surrey.

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