Conservation Projects

A reptile house created in the bank by the car park at Hatfield Forest

We have undertaken projects to provide improved habitation for kingfishers, terns and reptiles. We also undertake survey work to assess the impact of non-native crayfish on the lake and the health of the deer population.

Kingfisher bank

Across the nation kingfisher numbers have been dropping.  The rise in water levels has meant their habitats are being lost. To help counteract this problem, our volunteer Rangers have built an artificial kingfisher bank.  This is located on the north east bank of the lake, and is visible from the cafe area, especially in winter when the leaves have gone.
 
We have two resident kingfishers who can be occasionally spotted in the Marsh and on the Decoy Lake.
 

Tern raft

In 2015, we introduced a new raft into the upper western area of the lake, to provide a nesting platform for our resident terns.  This is made of fibre glass, with clear plastic sides to deter rats and mink.  We were advised to retain the original wooden raft, to avoid confusing them.
 
They very quickly showed they preferred the "new build" and moved across, with one nest and three baby terns.
 

Reptile Hibernaculum

The numbers of lizards and snakes in Great Britain have declined, primarily due to habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.  Even on protected sites, they have not always been safe, as standard habitat management techniques do not always encourage reptiles to thrive.  

One way of helping is the provision of hibernacula, or winter shelters, in which these reptiles can seek shelter, generally from October to February.  A major requirement is that they are on sunny, south facing site, with good drainage and sufficiently deep to give a frost free environment.  

We have constructed a hibernaculum on the northern edge of the Lakeside carpark, using drain pipes, concrete blocks, gravel and mulch, covered with soil, to create a bank.  Hopefully, grass snakes and common lizards will take up residence. 

The deer herd

Over the last decade we have been carefully monitoring our deer population. Students work with our volunteers using a variety of different methods to estimate the deer populations.
 
Thermal imaging cameras, dung counts along a transect and counting the number of paths leading into the coppices, all help us to determine how best we can manage the health of the herd.