Wildlife

The park contains a variety of natural habitats – parkland, woodland, woodland edge, scrub, long grass, flowering meadow, seasonal ponds and running water.

A 2010 habitat survey identified:

  • 99 species of plants including bluebells and five species of orchids. There are some areas of ancient woodland carpeted with bluebells in late spring. Other ancient woodland indicator plants are present such as wood anemone and dog’s mercury.  The management of the meadow areas is timed to encourage further floral biodiversity.
  • 11 species of mammals- rabbits, moles, squirrels, badgers and foxes and small mammals such as shrews and weasels have their homes in the park. There is an ongoing survey to establish if dormice are present in the park. Pipistrelle, Daubenton’s and Noctule bats have been seen flying on the edge of the wood, but it remains to be established whether they have roosts in the park.
  • 24 species of birds - listen out for the woodpeckers in the woodland area.
  • 19 species of insects - a colony of yellow meadow ants can be found in one meadow. In summer, look out for dragonflies flying around the playground next to the visitor centre.
  • The bird-cherry ermine moth (rare in the region) is a feature of the park in May. Thousands of small caterpillars cover the tree and the ground below in white silk while they eat the leaves creating a ‘ghost tree' effect. This lasts for 4-6 weeks then the caterpillars pupate and turn into moths and the trees recover.
  • 3 species of amphibians – the protected Great Crested Newt has been found in the parkland pond. The pond is seasonal so does not support fish which is ideal for newts during their breeding season.