SGO: Top 5 sites to discover biodiversity in Kent

Biodiversity is a big part of sustainability and something that is all around you. Biodiversity can be defined as the variety of unique types of life on earth. It is the link between all species, big and small. In Kent there are many different rural, urban, coastal and marine habitats where lots of interesting plants and rare and threatened species can be found.

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An example of a bio-diverse area on Canterbury Christ Church University campus – the bakehouse wall

5 sites which you may be interested in visiting and seeing the natural wildlife include:

  1. Hedgerows. Ancient or species-rich hedgerows are a boundary line of trees or shrubs, which have value as a habitat for species. They are a specific UK BAP priority habitat valued in Kent for their nature conservation, with a plan focusing on 1,144km of ancient/species-rich hedgerow in Kent. All the hedgerows give value to wildlife. They act as a corridor through which many species travel along. They are an important link between woodland and other areas. These provide a habitat for bats, invertebrates and hedge-bottom plants.
  2. Gardens, allotments and churchyards. These provide suitable habitats for UK BAP priority species, including birds such as the song thrush and the bullfinch, and those species more commonly seen, such as the fox, hedgehog, grog and toad. These areas are known as a broad habitat type. They are considered a local priority in Kent. The conservation of these habitats is not just about the protection of species but the opportunities they provide for people to have close contact with wildlife.
  3. Sand dunes. These form on the coast where there is enough supply of sediment and beach which dries out at low tide, allowing the sand grains to be blown inland. In Kent, the major formations are at Sandwich Bay and Romney Warren. The dunes are important for higher plants, invertebrates and birds including: shore lark and snow bunting. At Sandwich Bay, 90% of the rare plant ‘lizard orchid’ can be found. Two rare moths can also be seen at the dunes: Bright Wave and Restharrow.
  4. Lowland meadows. These are defined in Kent as most forms of unimproved and species rich grassland. These are usually dominated by grass species and pretty flowers including the green-winged and common spotted orchid and the yellow rattle. They can also be important for reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals such as harvest mice and bats.
  5. Woodland. There are over 46,000ha of woodland in Kent, including mixed and coniferous woodland. Much of Kent’s woodland is Beech and Yew, estimated at 570ha. Woodland in Kent is important for several UK BAP priority species such as: Duke of Burgundy butterflies and dormice.
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The Johnson Gardens: thriving with life.

If you would like to find out more information about these biodiversity sites visit the BAP website for biodiversity in Kent. Join us at 2pm on 8th December outside Touchdown Café (entrance near the pond) for our Bioversity tour of CCCU campus, where Edible Campus’s Alex Metcalfe will be taking us on a tour of the natural, biodiversity sites on North Holmes Road campus.

by student blogger, Natalie Blower

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