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Suffolk Wildlife Trust reveals precious habitat in Reydon

By Abby Maynard, also posted in News on

[caption id="attachment_15053" align="alignleft" width="240"]A pond at the Reydon Distribution Centre 2014 Pond at the Reydon Distribution Centre site[/caption] The Environmental team recently commissioned The Suffolk Wildlife Trust to undertake an Ecological assessment of the Adnams Distribution Centre site in Reydon. The aim of the assessment was to make sure our site operations are not having a negative impact on the local environment, while at the same time identifying important or rare habitats and species. We were astonished what we found in all four corners of our site! The assessment was carried out over two days and involved surveying all 41.5 hectares on foot, which incorporated everything from wading through thigh-high grasses to pond-dipping as well as investigating the car park - every aspect of the site was examined. To the north of the Reydon Distribution Centre site are four ponds, two of which have been classified as scoring highly on the Habitat Suitability Index for Great Crested Newts. This doesn’t mean that newts were found on the site (not yet, anyway), but it’s an indicator that the habitat is likely to support this European Endangered Species. Our site is perfect for Great Crested Newts due to a network of ponds enabling mating in the summer and good scrub for hibernation in the winter. [caption id="attachment_15054" align="alignright" width="240"]Dry acid grassland tending towards lichen heath at Reydon Dry acid grassland tending towards lichen heath at Reydon[/caption] In the east we discovered a blend of two very scarce habitats, Dry Acid Grassland and Lichen Heath. While to the untrained eye this habitat looks like a wasteland, upon closer inspection near-threatened species such as cudweed can be seen. This area has maintained its value thanks to intensive grazing by the previously deemed ‘pesky’ local rabbit colony. Down in the south of the site we were confronted by an alien invasion! Originally brought to England by the Romans, Tree Lupin is a fast growing, nitrogen-fixing species. It looks attractive, but it not good news for the pristine nutrient-poor acid grassland that surrounds the site. Efforts will be made to monitor and extract the Tree Lupin when possible. Whilst heading west across the thick expanse of overgrown meadow, and being watched carefully by a fox and a barn owl, we stumbled across some Sulphur Clover, a nationally scarce gem. [caption id="attachment_15055" align="alignleft" width="240"]Mossy Stone Crop at Reydon Distribution Centre Mossy Stone Crop[/caption] Our last discovery was surprisingly found in the car park - another nationally scarce species called Mossy Stone Crop, a tiny red plant which loves disturbed nutrient-poor soil. We are delighted that the Suffolk Wildlife Trust consider our site as “… an excellent mosaic for mammals, reptiles, invertebrates and birds” and we will be working with their recommendations to ensure that our site remains a haven for local wildlife. You can read the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s full report here.  

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Abby Maynard

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