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Soaring invertebrate life at Three Hagges Woodmeadow bucks global trends - Woodmeadow Trust

Meadow brown butterfly at Three Hagges Woodmeadow © L.Campbell
Meadow brown butterfly at Three Hagges Woodmeadow © L.Campbell

More than 1,000 invertebrate species – including over 30 with a high nature conservation status – have been identified at our pioneering 25-acre flagship site, Three Hagges Woodmeadow, a site which was effectively biodiversity-free only a few years ago.

The findings at our flagship site, Three Hagges Woodmeadow – created in 2012 on a former barley field – offer hope of rapidly tackling declines in nature by establishing similar biodiversity hotspots UK-wide.

Little known in the UK, woodmeadows are mixtures of woodland and meadow that combine the biodiversity of both habitats, and are exceptionally rich in life. Over 60 flora species per square metre have been recorded in woodmeadows in Scandinavian and Baltic countries, where they were common until the last century.

“Wildlife has moved into our woodmeadow at a speed that’s taken experts by surprise, even though the site is in its infancy and won’t mature for many years,” said Ros Forbes Adam, Project Leader at the Woodmeadow Trust. “This is a real cause for optimism. It shows that woodmeadows could help reverse the UK’s catastrophic decline in biodiversity, if created on a large scale and connected to other habitats to form wildlife corridors. Our aim is to see a woodmeadow established in every parish in the country.”

Painstaking annual surveys since 2015, mostly carried out by expert Andrew Grayson, have so far formally recorded the presence of 1,113 invertebrate species – including a wide variety of ladybirds, moths, beetles, grasshoppers and spiders – with more being discovered all the time.

A wealth of insect pollinators, attracted by a huge diversity of wildflowers that form a blaze of beautiful colour in the spring and summer, includes 34 bee species, 26 butterfly species, and 43 hoverfly species – none of which would have been found on the site when it was a barley field.

Butterflies include the dingy skipper – a species usually found on chalky soil, and unexpected in Escrick – marbled white, and purple hairstreak. Bees include the red mason bee and wool carder bee, and bumblebees such as the tree bumblebee and red-tailed bumblebee.

Three Hagges Woodmeadow is situated between Selby and York and is a centre of scientific research, with national experts monitoring mammals, birds, insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians, wildflowers, trees and soil.

Wildlife Trust launches vision of wildscape to replace bleak Broadmarsh - Nottingham Wildlife Trust

A visualisation of how the site, previously a multi-level indoor shopping mall could be transformed into a natural greenspace. (Taken from a master planning document prepared for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust by Influence)
A visualisation of how the site, previously a multi-level indoor shopping mall could be transformed into a natural greenspace. (Taken from a master planning document prepared for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust by Influence)

Following the collapse of the operators of Nottingham’s Broadmarsh shopping centre, INTU, and the return of the site’s lease to Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, a locally based charity which has championed wildlife in the city for over 30 years, has developed a bold vision in which this key area of the city centre site is reimagined as 100% natural greenspace.

Since the site was handed back to the Council in the summer, there has been much talk locally over the site’s future. A petition started by Cameron Ewan of West Bridgford calling for the area to be transformed into public greenspace secured almost 11,000 signatures and other polls have also supported calls for a new greenspace.

As Nottingham seeks to recover from the human and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust believes that a Broadmarsh re-imagined as natural greenspace would improve the health of city residents, provide vital access to nature for those without gardens and stimulate investment.

Speaking about the vision Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Paul Wilkinson said: “By putting people and nature at the heart of plans for the Broadmarsh site Nottingham City Council can grasp a once in a generation opportunity to carve out a green future for the city centre. As well as signalling the City’s commitment to helping secure 30% of land across the UK for nature by 2030, this new vision would support Nottingham’s ambition to be the UK’s first carbon neutral city, boost tourism and ensure that Nottingham stands out from the crowd as city’s across the UK compete for investment to rebuild their economies after the impact of Covid-19.”

Europe's breeding birds get long-overdue stocktake - British Trust for Ornithology

Cattle Egret by Philip Croft
Cattle Egret by Philip Croft

New European Breeding Bird Atlas, a milestone for biodiversity research and nature conservation in Europe, is published today.


The European Bird Census Council (EBCC) publishes the second European Breeding Bird Atlas EBBA2, a milestone for biodiversity knowledge in Europe

A tremendous collaborative effort by the EBCC and its partner organisations made it possible to collect bird data from across 11 million km2 in a systematic and standardised manner.

With around 120,000 volunteer fieldworkers from all countries in Europe, EBBA2 is one of the biggest citizen science projects on biodiversity ever.

Selected results

Almost 600 bird species currently breed in Europe; 539 are native species and 57 non-native (introduced from elsewhere in the world). Most of these species are not widespread but restricted to small areas of Europe.

35% of all native species have increased the area where they breed over the last 30 years, 25% have contracted their breeding range and the rest did not show a change or the trend is unknown.

‘Winners’, with increased ranges, include many species of forests and those protected by international legislation. ‘Losers’, with decreased ranges, include many species of farmland.

Land use change and climate change appear to be the main causes of changes in distribution.

During the fieldwork period 2013–2017 EBBA2 recorded 539 native bird species breeding in Europe, 59 of which are mainly concentrated in Europe (near-endemics) and 40 are species that can be found only in Europe (endemic). There are few species as widespread as White Wagtail or Common Cuckoo, which were recorded in over 85% of all 50-km squares surveyed in EBBA2. More than 50% of the species occurred in less than 10% of all surveyed squares, so that all countries and regions have their own specific responsibility towards this common wealth.

Scientific Publications

Roman, L., Schuyler, Q., Wilcox, C. & Hardesty, B. D. Plastic pollution is killing marine megafauna, but how do we prioritize policies to reduce mortality? Conservation Letters. DOI: 10.1111/conl.12781

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