Biodiversity refers to the variety of living organisms in a specific area.
OPC’s amenity sites are managed differently to provide a mix of mown open spaces for recreation and areas which encourage biodiversity in areas which see less footfall.
Site 1 – Community Orchard
Routine mowing removes habitats and vastly reduces biodiversity. Only shorter plants survive, which has a knock-on effect on the biodiversity of organisms such as pollinators and herbivores. Less frequent or intensive mowing will enable bees, butterflies and other such wildlife to take up residence in your garden.
The mowing regime at the Community Orchard has been revised so that only swathes are mown which create pathways for visitors.
This is a community orchard and visitors are welcome to pick the fruit.
Site 2 – Wild flower meadow area, Odiham Cemetery
There is a wildmeadow area in an unused area of Odiham Cemetery. June and July are the perfect months to see the new array of wildflowers appearing at the cemetery. There is a bench overlooking the wildflower area which gives a picturesque view across to cricket club and fields beyond. The meadow is cut between late August and late November which removes surplus growth and helps to keep grasses at bay, letting the wildflowers thrive.
Site 3 – new bund, Odiham Cemetery
This area was created when the cemetery lawn was extended in 2022 to increase burial space for the future. Councillors planted hedging whips early 2023. A management plan is being developed to ensure the whips flourish whilst maintaining the biodiversity benefits from other plants.
Site 4 – Recreation Ground
After taking advice from the Hampshire and IoW Wildlife Trust on managing open spaces to improve biodiversity, we asked Larkstel, OPC’s grounds contractor, to leave a wildlife corridor at the edge of the field to grow longer. This creates an area known as an ‘ecotine’ which supports a variety of insects as more plant types can grow. It’s a great way of responding to climate change and biodiversity loss without affecting the amenity use of the space.
Site 5 – The Firs
The UK’s native woods and trees are incredibly biodiverse. They support many different species of fungi, lichens, mosses, plants and insects.
This site is inspected regularly by staff and included in OPC’s tree inspection surveys but the site is relatively left untouched, unless a tree or vegetation causes a H&S concern.
Site 6 – The Peace Garden
Flowers and fruit blossom which are rich in pollen and nectar also benefit biodiversity by helping bees and other pollinators.
Site 7 – land at Colt Hill
The small woodland at Colt Hill, opposite the entrance to Galleon Marine, is another low footfall area rich in biodiversity.
Trees are managed to promote biodiversity and wood is left on site wherever possible. Following a tree survey in 2022, one tree was identified for removal and a monalith was carried out. A monolithic tree is achieved by removing the entire crown (all the main branches), whilst ensuring the standing stem remains a balanced structure. This will provide shelter for birds and, as they rot down, more habitat for the invertebrates that are so important as a food source for them.
A lease has now been agreed with a new Forest School who will use the site to promote hands on education of the natural environment. It is hoped that the school will help to progress other recommendations in the Biodiversity Action Plan, such as creating habitat stacks which are great for bugs and beetles.
Site 8 – allotments, Hook Road
Allotments provide the perfect environment for many types of beneficial creatures which assist the plot-holder in a number of ways: Insects pollinate the flowers of fruit and vegetable plants in their search for nectar. Birds, insects and other creatures devour garden pests such as aphids, mealy bugs and whiteflies.