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Protecting Nature During the Nower Wood New build

Posted: Wednesday 21st October 2015 by OutdoorLearning

Realising our Dream of Building a New Education CentreGreat Crested Newt ©D. Kilbey

Being a Wildlife Trust, as we plan our Nower Wood Education Centre rebuild the impact on the wildlife at Nower Wood is at the forefront of our mind.

we are well on our way to realising our dream of building a new Education Centre next year.

We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded Surrey Wildlife Trust £54,000 in development funding towards the Outdoor Woodland Learning in Surrey (OWLS) project, which is part of our work to replace our Nower Wood Education Centre.

We can now move ahead and apply for a full HLF grant and this coupled with our other fundraising efforts means we are well on our way to realising our dream of building a new Education Centre next year.

As we develop the project every aspect and stage has to carefully consider the biodiversity of the site. Our Surrey Wildlife Trusts Ecologists are making sure that disruption to wildlife habitats is minimised and species are safeguarded during the build and into the future.

The site itself is ancient woodland and a site of nature conservation interest. Our Ecologists started conducting surveys for this project as far back as 2008. These have shown the rare and legally protected species we need to consider during the works to be nesting birds, bats, Grass Snake, Slow-worm, Roman Snail, Great Crested Newt, Dormice and Badger.

Before the works start we will carefully capture and move the protected species out of harm’s way. They will be re-located to a safe area within Nower Wood and a temporary ‘exclusion fence’ will be erected around the construction site to prevent them returning until the build has been completed. Special reptile and amphibian homes (hibernacula) will be built out of wood from site clearance to provide a safe and improved habitat for these animals. 

The timing of works is also important; the site will be cleared in spring and the works will take place in summer, this is the time when it is least disruptive to vulnerable hibernating animals. This time of year is good for the habitat also as the (hopefully!) fine weather reduces negative impacts of vehicle tracks and site works in muddy conditions during a wet winter. 

The new building has been designed and located to minimise disruption to sensitive habitats. However, any top soil (which contains the woodland seed bank) that has to be moved will be carefully stored on site and replaced around the new building to ensure future displays of bluebells and other ground flora.

By planning the project in this was we will ensure that Nower Wood will continue to be a special place for people and wildlife.

We are raising funds to rebuild Nower Wood Education Centre

If you are interested in holding a fundraising event making a donation or to find out more about the project, please visit our Nower Wood New Build page

Aimee Clarke

Director Education and People & Wildlife

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