WEG organise conservation days, particularly in Hayley Green Wood which the Group adopted in 2005 (certificate here). We are actively involved in the clearance of invasive, non-native rhododendron, and have planted in its place a mix of local native trees (including ash, oak, rowan, hazel, hawthorn, and wild cherry) and wild flowers (including foxglove and primrose which were home-grown from locally-collected seed). We have also put up bird and bat boxes in the wood to further encourage local wildlife, and conducted a dormouse survey (sadly we found no evidence of any).
Why do we clear the rhododendron? Click here for a factsheet.
At the Thomas Lawrence Brickworks Newt Reserve WEG has cleared small trees from around the main pond to ensure the habitat remains suitable for newts and, in particular, great crested newts which are a protected species. We have also built hibernacula to help provide shelter and places for the newts to over-winter. WEG surveys the main pond annually to check that the newt populations are being maintained (latest survey results here) – our newt surveys are very popular with adults and children alike. To improve access to the Newt Reserve we have assisted in the construction of a bark path around the main pond.
At the bottom of Harvest Hill WEG has built two stag beetle loggeries.
Stag beetles are a globally threatened species, due to the destruction of dead wood and the tidying up of parks and green spaces. Stag beetles lay eggs underground by logs or stumps of dead trees, and their larvae live in the dead wood for up to seven years while they are maturing. The loggeries provide the dead wood necessary for stag beetles to complete their breeding cycle.