Warren Forsyth, Operations Director at Eddington – a new neighbourhood in northwest Cambridge – shares how his team strives for abundant wildlife and biodiversity across the site
Nature is at the heart of our strategy.
There is one overarching strategy for the entire Eddington site, including any future development, which is to ensure wildlife and biodiversity are encouraged across the development. This has been carefully planned, alongside many other sustainability measures, which are integrated in every aspect of Eddington to encourage residents and visitors to lead more sustainable lives. Creating an environment for people and nature includes a range of integrated features and open space to help creatures flourish. These include enhancements (such as nesting and roosting sites) for birds, bats, and amphibians, as well as meadow-flower and wetlands.
You’ll find an abundance of trees and wildflowers at Eddington.
A significant part of our broader sustainability strategy is focused on planting. This includes planting approximately 2,400 trees in Eddington’s public realm to date (including field maple, alder, birch, hornbeam, sweet chestnut, hazel, hawthorn, Scots pine, cherry, plum, apple, pear, English oak, willow, rowan, lime, and elm).
The priority for the Eddington wildflower meadows is the development of a species-rich sward of native species. Selection of the individual species has been based on the soil type, and include viper’s bugloss, oxeye daisy and tufted vetch. Elsewhere at Eddington, some existing grassland areas were previously regularly cut, or heavily grazed when the land was farmed. The priority with these has been to develop a more diverse sward and encourage some structural diversity, by reducing the frequency of cutting.
This work is already making a significant impact.
Our strategy has been successful. Based on monitoring surveys and engagement with local residents, the ecology team at Eddington know that the number of great crested newts, water voles, reed buntings and other wetland birds have increased in various habitats across Eddington. In addition, birds and bats have been using the installed nest and roost boxes. One particularly notable finding from recent monitoring has been the establishment of pyramidal orchid plants in an area of grassland at Eddington. These results are in response to where the landscape, habitat and horticultural management was changed to provide biodiversity benefits, therefore as a direct result of the measures.
In addition to the green spaces open to the general public, there is also a significant amount of planting in and around the buildings, including residential courtyards and gardens. These have all been designed by various landscape architects to provide communal and private outdoor spaces for residents to enjoy.
City residents are warmly encouraged to get involved.
The University of Cambridge is keen to help people engage in promoting and enhancing biodiversity and has created an engagement pack for anyone keen to do so. Part of the pack includes an initiative to establish a ‘Biodiversity in your Back Garden’. This initiative aims to create an ecological network across the built environment of Cambridge, connecting areas of higher ecological value by extending outside the University estate, to create stepping stones for nature across the city.
Looking to the future at Eddington, planning is underway for the next phase of development. This includes extensions to the existing Brook Leys parkland landscape to provide informal areas for play, walking and cycling. It will include more woodland and meadow trails, featuring wet and dry meadows and species rich grassland.
Want to learn more? A full description of the biodiversity measures at Eddington is set out in this Biodiversity Strategy.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into the fascinating wildlife and natural planting at Eddington! From personal experience I must say it is a beautiful place to be, especially at the height of summertime when the crickets are chirping and many of the wildflowers are at their tallest.
Until next time,