Making space for wildlife at Says Court Solar Farm
Wednesday 29th June 2016
Barn owl (c) Richard Bowler
Can a solar farm become a wildlife haven? Alongside the new Solar Farm at Says Court, a host of wildlife friendly habitats have been created. Three thousand trees, a barn owl corridor and a wildflower meadow now sit alongside this development. The local community and school children will help determine if this space can become a thriving home for mammals, pollinators and birds.
Last week, three councillors from Westerleigh Parish Council came to inspect the new interpretation boards at Says Court Solar Farm. The boards introduce you to the five year partnership project between the council, Avon Wildlife Trust, the landowners and not least the wildlife of this new solar farm site.
For buzzing bees and butterflies a wildflower meadow has been planted and new hedgerows will provide shelter for many different creatures. The new barn owl corridor is an area of tussocky grassland that will require little maintenance once it’s established, and will be a good habitat for the small mammals on which barn owls feed. Over 3,000 woodland trees including oak, field maple, small leaved lime and rowan have also been planted here.
Bob Taylor, Chairman of Westerleigh Parish Council said “I look forward to seeing the changes on the site, as the new wildlife habitats develop over time.”
Photo: Bob Taylor, Julie Doherty, Ann Fay and Sarah Blackmore
Avon Wildlife Trust has been invited by Westerleigh Parish Council to work with the local schools and community to survey these habitats, and to monitor the impact of the solar farm over the coming years. School children have been learning about renewable energy and using quadrats to survey the site for wildlife. Avon Wildlife Trust have worked with two of the local schools so far and they will continue to be involved with the project year on year.
The Westerleigh Parish councillors announced the local cycle and walking routes are to be improved, with a new cycle route joining up with Says Court in the next 18 months, which is fantastic news.
Currently, a public footpath creates a circular route around the farm, so why not explore for yourself and discover the local landscape? The walk even passes by a 15th century pub, The New Inn – a perfect end to a country stroll.
Keep an eye on the Avon Wildlife Trust events page for community family events at Says Court Solar Farm later this year
Read the latest blog from the WildSchools team - Discovering wildlife at Says Court Solar Farm
Barn owl photo (c) Richard Bowler