Habitats within Yelvertoft Pocket Park

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Hedgerows

The pocket park boundaries are marked by native hedgerows. Hedgerows are important part of Northamptonshire landscape and provide wildlife corridors for species to move between habitats. Hedges that have a variety of shrub species within provide food for wildlife through their leaves, flowers and berries, provide shelter and are used for nesting.

The newest hedge is the boundary hedge within the Orchard, this was planted by the community in 1999. The community hedge was laid for the first time in 2019. It is the intention to manage the hedges traditionally to ensure that they remain in good health and offer high quality hedgerow habitat for the local wildlife to benefit from.

Tree hedges are important part to the hedgerows as they provide additional habitat, trees such as oak can support over 400 species of insect species. Trees within hedges are used as song posts for birds, provide roosting habitats for bats and as they age deadwood habitat for rare specialist invertebrate species.

The margins next to the hedges are mostly left uncut (cut in rotation), to ensure that there is cover for the birds, mammals and over wintering habitat remains for invertebrates. Hedgehogs may use the margins to nest, as will some farmland bird species such as the yellowhammer. 

Large Pond

The main pond has been created with banks and ledges. The banks have been left to naturally develop. The ledges have been planted mainly with Norfolk reed. The larger ledge is stepped, the upper part of this ledge has been planted with a mixture of wet woodland tree species.

The ditch, which runs from the village hall feeds into the pond. The drainage from the sports field will runs into this ditch and maintains the water level of the pond. Aquatic plants and reeds planted within the ditch act as a natural silt trap before water enters the pond.

Otter, heron and kingfisher have been recorded at the pond feeding on the fish that appeared overnight. Due to the expense of removing the fish and various licences required the fish have remained, but are not a priority species for the pond habitat. In the spring toads migrate to the pond and lay their spawn strings and tadpoles can be seen wriggling in the shallows. In the summer the house martins, swallows and swifts can be seen feeding high above the pond and skimming the pond surface to feed on the invertebrates.

Other bird species which have made use of the reeds include nesting reed buntings; starlings murmuration can be observed over the pocket park in the winter months before they drop into the reeds to roost for the night. Dragonflies and damselflies carry out their full life cycle within the pocket park. If you have a keen eye, you may be able to spot the exuviae of the dragonflies and damselflies left clinging on the reeds and stems of the pond margin plants. Exuviae are the skin cases of the dragonfly larvae, once the larvae are mature they climb out of the water, the adult dragonfly emerge, leaving the empty cases clinging on the stems of the pond plants.

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Froglife

Pond

Fish free small pond was created under Froglife’s Living Waters Project funded by Biffa. This pond has been left to develop natural, amphibians such as newts, frogs and toads will make use of the seasonal pond. The Living Waters Project was a two year project which included training in surveying, habitat management and the creation of hibernacula. The hibernacula will encourage overwintering of amphibians and reptiles. Smooth newts have been spotted using the pond, water beetles and other water invertebrates have been recorded, included dragonfly larvae. The pond is seasonal, so in the summer it is often lacking in water, however do not let this deceive you it is still full of life just under the sticky mud. 

Please do not add to the ponds by releasing tadpoles, frogs, fish or other wildlife to the ponds or adding plants as you may introduce diseases or invasive plants.

Orchard

Orchards are important habitats for wildlife. The trees are widely spaced, so they let in more sunlight than a closed canopy of wood, this creates mixture of shaded, semi shaded and full sun areas which benefits different ground flora and invertebrate such as bees and butterflies. The different variety of fruit trees provide blossom for pollinators, as the trees mature the hollows, rot holes and sap runs and dead wood attract specialist invertebrates that need the veteran tree features to exist. The invertebrates provide essential food for birds. The fruit from the trees feed not only the community but also wildlife.

The Orchard is a community orchard, which means that the fruit can be harvested by the community. Each tree has been sponsored by a member of the community. The Orchard contains different fruit varieties some are heritage fruit trees.

Apple

  • Worcester Pearmain
  • Laxton Superb
  • Blenheim Orange
  • Ellison Orange
  • Warwickshire Drooper
  • Issac Newton
  • Cox Orange Pippin
  • Dumelow
  • Eadys Magnum
  • Annie Elizabeth
  • Lord Burghley

Pear

  • Conference
  • Beth
  • Concorde 

Plum

  • Marjorie seedling
  • Sunburst
  • Victoria

Cherry

  • Stella
  • Lapins

Other fruit varieties have been added such as the slow growing Mulberry. Native wildflowers have been added to the orchard area, which include ragged robin, wild primroses and cowslips, this will natural spread across the orchard area.

Foraging

Foraging for wild food, fruit and material for crafts for personal use is welcome at the pocket park, all we ask is that you ensure that there is enough left for the wildlife and the habitats to thrive.

Tree and Shrub Cover

Trees are planted around the park, the trees have been donated by the local community, some trees are memorial trees and others hold memories for families and friends as they came together to plant them. The majority of the trees planted at the pocket park are native tree species.

The shrub and tree cover planted on the banks provide shelter, nesting and foraging areas for wildlife.

 

Scrub Patches

Across the pocket park you may come across some areas of scrub, which includes bramble thickets and blackthorn. These areas require a bit of management to keep them from spreading, but are also valuable habitats for birds and invertebrates such as butterflies.

 

Rough Grass Margins

Extensive areas of rough grassland, which include tussocky grass mounds, are left uncut. This creates cover for small mammals and important habitat for invertebrates. The rough grass areas are cut on a rotation, so that a mosaic of different stages of growth and cover are available across the pocket park. If the grass was left unmanaged scrub will become dominant across the site.

 

Flora

Across the pocket park native wildflowers have established some have appeared naturally and others are from native wildflower seeds or plug plants that have been introduced in small patches to disperse naturally. The seed and plug plants have been sourced carefully, please do not add seeds or plants to the pocket park without permission. Any garden varieties found are removed from the site.

Many of our native wildflowers require poor nutrients within the soil to establish and thrive. Within the pocket park areas where wildflower patches are to establish will be managed by cutting the area once the seed has dispersed and removing the cuttings, as the cuttings are not going to be used as hay for animals the cut can be carried out later in the season than traditional hay making, another cut may be carried out to replicate grazing, ideally you would graze with sheep or cattle after cutting. Establishing a diversity of wildflowers across the pocket park will take time and is dependent on the habitat management of the areas.

Dead Wood and Bare Ground

Dotted around the pocket park you will find piles of brash, dead hedges and areas of bare ground. Dead wood is an important habitat to invertebrates and also a good place to look for fungi. If you come to the pocket park at night with a torch you may spot the lesser stag beetle. Bare patches of ground are also important areas for reptiles such as grass snakes to warm themselves in the sun. Invertebrates such as butterflies, flies and bees will use bare ground to warm themselves in the sun and some will nest in bare soil, so look closely to see if you can spot the holes.

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