Rotten wood and amazing bugs

Did you know that Attingham has a Site of Special Scientific Interest? It's a SSSI due to being home to a variety of saproxylic invertebrates - more commonly known as deadwood invertebrates.

Attingham has a ‘rich assemblage of saproxylic invertebrates including many species which are rare in Shropshire and are nationally scarce’. Or in other words, our old trees are home to many nationally rare and unusual insects. Attingham is a special place because of its old trees.

Our oldest tree is nearly 700 years old
Orange and golden hues, a view up a tree
Our oldest tree is nearly 700 years old

Tiny but mighty

Deadwood invertebrates depend on a large number of surviving mature and over-mature trees, both standing and fallen deadwood to make their home for part of their life cycle.

These creatures need a stable environment to make their habitat – they find it in the rot holes and cavities of mature trees and ancient trees. A succession of trees varying in ages from 600 years old to 100 years old gives continuity to these creatures ensuring there is always a suitable habitat for them at Attingham.

The landscape and woodland at Attingham has changed very little over the past few hundred years due to being owned and looked after by the same family, and then passing into the care of the National Trust in 1947.

Deadwood invertebrates and the habitats they form play a vital part in the woodland ecosystem. They play an important part in the soil cycle, decomposing matter into nutrients, producing soil, create habitats and are a food source for other wildlife.

When compared with similar sites within the UK, Attingham Park is considered to be one of the most important for the conservation of these creatures due to the veteran trees in the woodland.

Natural England designated the SSSI at Attingham in March 2000 and with your support we’re able to conserve and carefully manage the area to ensure the survival of these important insects.

Have you got any of these creatures in your garden?

More than likely! If your garden has a few trees of varying age, leaf piles, branches, logs, areas of uneven bark, even rotting fence posts - then you will have some of the most common deadwood invertebrates, such as a long horn beetle, rhinoceros beetle or cardinal beetle will be at home in your garden.

They also need a nearby source of nectar and pollen to thrive – something like a hawthorn tree or a variety of flowers and shrubs in your garden. Being small creature - they can be tricky to spot - or photograph!