Landscape design completed for Cley Marshes education centre

At Cley Marshes, Norfolk Wildlife Services are working with Norfolk Wildlife Trust on the new Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre. Simon Aspinall was a naturalist who made important contributions to ornithology and conservation, and the new centre will reflect his love of nature, wildlife and education.

After extensive consultation and review of a number of landscape designs, the team has gained planning approval from North Norfolk District Council for a planting scheme around the centre, which will encourage butterflies and wildlife to the site and enrich the visitors’ experience.

Maritime turf and shingle planting will create formal “garden” areas, while new trees and shrub planting, using species and structure to match existing landscape elements, will ensure that the new building will blend into the surrounds and appear coherent with the existing centre.

NWT Project Manager, Ian Leatherbarrow, commented, “Norfolk Wildlife Services prompt response to developing an attractive, cost effective landscape design means that we can start work on the project knowing that the outdoor element of the work will be successfully delivered.”

Norfolk Wildlife Trust is one of our key clients; we work closely with them on many of their reserves. Other successful outcomes for the Trust include: transformation of land at Upton Broad and marshes from arable to grazing marsh and assisting with the development of Hilgay and Methwold as a wetland Living Landscape.

New landscape design for Cley Marshes

At Cley Marshes, Norfolk Wildlife Services are working with Norfolk Wildlife Trust on the new Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre. Simon Aspinall was a naturalist who made important contributions to ornithology and conservation, and the new centre will reflect his love of nature, wildlife and education.

After extensive consultation and review of a number of landscape designs, the team has gained planning approval from North Norfolk District Council for a planting scheme around the centre, which will encourage butterflies and wildlife to the site and enrich the visitors’ experience.

Maritime turf and shingle planting will create formal “garden” areas, while new trees and shrub planting, using species and structure to match existing landscape elements, will ensure that the new building will blend into the surrounds and appear coherent with the existing centre.

NWT Project Manager, Ian Leatherbarrow commented, “Norfolk Wildlife Services prompt response to developing an attractive, cost effective landscape design means that we can start work on the project knowing that the outdoor element of the work will be successfully delivered.”

As one of our key clients, NWS works closely with Norfolk Wildlife Trust on many of their reserves. Other successful outcomes for the Trust included the transformation of land at Upton Broad and marshes from arable to grazing marsh; and assisting with the development of Hilgay and Methwold as a wetland Living Landscape.

Bats in the thatch at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Hickling reserve

Norfolk Wildlife Services have been asked to survey bats in the thatched wardens house at the NWT Hickling, Norfolk, and offer advice on their protection.

At Hickling, Stewart has undertaken an assessment of the bat roost within the warden’s house, which requires rethatching.  The bat colony has been known about for several years, with bats flitting around the eaves on summer evenings catching midges and mosquitoes swarms from the adjacent wetlands.  As such the Hickling warden John Blackburn was keen that the thatching work didn’t accidentally block entrances or affect the bats, and so called on Norfolk Wildlife Services to offer specialist advice well in advance.

John Blackburn, the warden, joked : “People talk about taking work home with them, but in this case a bit of the nature reserve seems to have moved into my house.  It’s easy to forget that there is a whole night shift at Hickling, that starts up when the reserve closes.  Nocturnal creatures such as bats are as integral a part of the ecology of Hickling as it’s bitterns.”

Bats will not normally roost in thatch, since the reed can very easily pierce or snag their membranous wings, and in rural Norfolk areas typically use Dutch pan tile roofs, which have abundant snug gaps.  At Hickling, based on droppings found, the bats are suspected to roost within a cavity wall in the loft, perhaps sardined into the inside of a breezeblock, where they are not visible in the daytime.

In order to find the roost location and count the number of bats using the roost, nocturnal surveys will observe both their emergence and then around dawn their carousel display as they settle to roost.

Stewart, an ecologist at Norfolk Wildlife Services said:

“We will use specialist bat detectors, which many people will be familiar with, that reduce ultrasonic bat echolocation calls to an audible frequency. The echolocation calls will be recorded digitally, allowing later analysis to confirm which species were present. We have a good idea where bats are emerging from as droppings are regularly found beneath a hole around the roof rafters, but will be relying on good vision to confirm this and any other potential roost sites within the building. The most likely species we will find are soprano pipistrelles, but we know there are also two other pipistrelles at Hickling as well as Natterer’s and Daubenton’s bats, so it should be quite exciting.”