Ecological Planning & Research
habitat creation, restoration & management
key areas of work
Langley Mead Nature Reserve
University of Reading
Langley Mead is an 18.3ha area of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG), designed primarily be attractive to visitors to protect the nearby Thames Basin Heaths SPA from increases in recreational pressure. However, the project is also re-creating and restoring a range of biodiverse habitats; including wildflower-rich floodplain meadows, and species rich native hedgerows and woodlands.
Following a successful planning application, Langley Mead has now been delivered, and was open to the public from 15 May 2015.
The restoration of the grasslands is being carried out using seed-rich green hay taken from a local nature reserve, which was volunteered up as a donor site by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT).
The areas of grassland restoration will contribute towards two categories of semi-natural habitats that are listed as being of ‘principal importance for nature conservation’ under Section 41 of the 2006 NERC Act.
The area has special potential to be of high value for biodiversity because of its location alongside the River Loddon, and its rich history as an ancient meadow and alluvial pasture.
EPR is now contracted to help manage Langley Mead. A crucial aspect of the hay meadow management regime is that people can see and understand the effects of the seasons as they watch wildflowers and other plants grow, flower and be cut; reconnecting people with their natural environment and encouraging better future stewardship of our natural heritage.
The management is expected to significantly increase the value of the foraging habitat available for species such as Grass Snake and Barn Owl. Other birds of prey should also benefit, including species such as Red Kite, Little Owl, Sparrow Hawk, Kestrel.
EPR also provided advice and developed appropriate mechanisms for the funding and future long-term management of the SANG areas. See our news page for more information on Langley Mead.
Verity Crescent, Poole, Dorset
EPR has been involved with the Verity Crescent site for over 15 years, with recent ecological works consisting of a large scale reptile relocation. Since then, we’ve been involved with creating and managing habitats across the site to enhance their value for reptiles.
The site sits on what was originally part of Canford Heath. However, it was utilised for landfill until the mid-1980s and since then had been left unmanaged. After the landfill was clay-capped, an early successional cover of grassland developed on the mix of imported soils, this then became dominated by scrub vegetation. Little of the original heathland soils appears to have survived over the site.
Given the history of the site, the Habitat Management Plan and Reptile Mitigation Strategy produced by EPR sought to create new pockets of heathland habitat within a new Nature Conservation Area. This area was to consist of a heathland and grassland mosaic, which was ultimately designed to encourage Sand Lizards into the area, as this rare species of reptile had not been recorded on site since 2004.
Sand being added to the ground
Sand being spread
Construction of the interim bank
Adding soil on top of the sand
Shaping the habitat landscape
The finished bank
The final stage of phase 1
Adding the Heather bales
Spreading the Heather
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University of Reading
The redevelopment of Sibly Hall campus in Reading relied on the relocation of a mobile telephone mast providing coverage for the emergency services. The only feasible location for this was inside Redhatch Copse, a small area of Ancient Woodland that has been subsumed into the urban area of Reading. We developed an ambitous mitigation strategy for the ancient woodland which we successfully defended at Public Inquiry.
Following the grant of planning consent we implemented the mitigation strategy translocating the Ancient Woodland soil and its valuable seed from the works area into a new receptor location on the edge of the copse. We also prepared a costed management plan for the remainder of the copse to reinstate beneficial traditional management techniques such as coppicing and pollarding. New woodland was created and planted.
The Ancient Woodland soil translocation is only one of a handful of occasions nationally where this has been attempted. Follow-up visits to the site since, have shown that a number of Ancient Woodland plants including Bluebells, Wood Sorrel and Ferns have successfully re-established in their new home.
Strip receptor siteready for receivingdonor materialStrip soil from donorsite, patches ofbluebells foundLevels marked foraccurate translocationof soilSoil from donor sitebeing spread out atreceptor siteDonor site strippedand ready forconstruction
Aldershot Integrated Rural Management Plan
EPR was commissioned by Natural England to review the management and condition of the ecological features of value in Defence Estate Aldershot Training Area Unit 5 as part of a wider commission to draft the next generation of management plans for the Aldershot Estate – the Integrated Rural Management Plans (IRMPs). The managment proposals were based largely on earlier vegetation survey and condition monitoring undertaken by EPR on behalf of Defence Estates across the MOD Aldershot and Longmoor Training Areas.
Chichester Harbour Conservancy
EPR was commissioned over many years undertaken a rolling programme of detailed vegetation surveys to monitor the saltmarsh resource within Chichester Harbour (part of the Solent Maritime SAC). Our botanical expertise has provided invaluable information on the condition of the saltmarsh to ensure the Chichester Harbour Conservancy has accurate information on which to base decisions. In excess of 300 reptiles were translocated.
Hampshire County Council
EPR designed and implemented the translocation of a large area of acid grassland adjacent to Woolmer Forest SAC in East Hampshire for Hampshire County Council. Long term monitoring of the translocated habitat was required over a 10 year period, which EPR undertook, analysed and provided feedback to the County on the overall success, including whether a number of rare lichen species had persisted within the translocated habitat. This included an analysis of vegetation composition and species richness before and after the translocation.
Burnham Beeches SAC and Littleworth Common SSSI
Corporation of London
This feasibility study was undertaken to inform the development of a landscape-scale habitat restoration project in and around the pasture woodlands of Burnham Beeches SAC and Littleworth Common SSSI, South Buckinghamshire. EPR worked with a party of stakeholders that included the client, Plantlife International, The National Trust, the Local Authority and Natural England.