Drovers Way is surrounded by miles of community forest, private, ancient woodland and acres of mixed farmland, so local wildlife abounds.
We are delighted to have retained the Gold Award in the David Bellamy Conservation Scheme, for another year. The Assessors comments that "I was impressed on my first visit when the Park was just open but even more impressed with the continuing efforts being made to keep Conservation a top priority on this Park".
Our 33 nest boxes have all been upgraded and some moved to better "human viewing" positions due to the efforts of a local British Trust for Ornithology volunteer. As a "C" permit ringer he has also been able to ring three broods of Swallows and a family of Stock Doves. It will be interesting to track their progress.
They have also installed several owl boxes. We see several varieties of these wonderful birds on a regular basis but so far only the Little Owl has a permanent home within our boundaries.
Our next step with this will be to set drift nets and log all the birdlife coming onto the Park.
We have added two willow curves which we are slowly bending to shape to create living leafy domes. With their integral wooden bench inside they are a perfect vantage point to sit and survey the site.
The lesser spotted Woodpecker is back to sampling the delights of the many bird feeders around the Park. The smaller birds seem not to be intimidated by his presence; with Tits and Finches providing a colourful display for those owners here throughout the winter months.
The families ten-acre park is based on a farm which has been in Chris Brown's family since 1952 when his father, Norman, began a poultry rearing business, moving later into pig breeding. They decided to open a holiday park last year, and after gaining planning consent began work using almost exclusively re-cycled and locally sourced building materials.
A main feature of the park is its fishing lake which acts as a magnet for a variety of animals and birds, including kingfishers - plus aquatic species including fresh water mussels and dragonflies.
The couple have also planted hundreds of indigenous trees and shrubs to grow alongside the many mature specimens and ancient hedgerows around the grounds.
These and the woodland areas, David Bellamy's assessors found, provide a vast range of habitats for species such as deer and badgers, and nesting areas for birds including woodpeckers and owls. Bird boxes have also been set up around the park and many are now in use.
Award assessors also noted the park's proliferation of wild flowers with high pollen-bearing blooms which attract a wide range of butterflies, including both common and less familiar types. Pictures and literature to identify the native flora and fauna is available for all. Chris and Helen also aim to keep the carbon footprint of Drovers Way as low as possible, and use low-energy lighting around the park, and a reed bed to naturally filtrate and purify waste water.