Why Battlemead is special
Battlemead is a very special place a range of interesting habitats providing homes for a wide range of flora and fauna and the potential to become a biodfiversity hotspot in the Borough. The ecology consultants employed by the Council identified several different habitats: woodland, some natural, some plantation; grassland/meadow; hedgerows; waterway (in the form of the White Brook which runs through Battlemead); and wetland. Each habitat has its own special qualities and wildlife.
Of the 90 species of bird seen there recently many are nesting birds in the Spring and Summer in the hedgerows and woodland areas, as well as ducks, geese, swans and Kingfishers in the wetland areas and along the stream. The flooded areas in the winter attract wild ducks, including Teal and Wigeon, coming to Britain from their breeding grounds in Scandinavia and beyond. Migrant and breeding waders can also be seen there – Oystercatchers, Lapwing, occasional Snipe and Sandpipers along with a few rare visitors.
Raptors, in the form of Kestrels, Sparrowhawks, Buzzards and Red Kite, are regulars there and, in the summer, the rarer Hobby is there catching dragonflies and other insects. Barn Owls were breeding there until, sadly, the disturbance caused by human visitors following the acquisition was likely the cause of this ending last year; Tawny Owls and Little Owls also nest locally.
Roe Deer and Muntjac are frequently seen, along with Foxes, Hares and Moles. There is also evidence of Otters visiting.
Butterflies, Dragonflies and Damselflies are among the many insects seen there (just over 100 species so far reported), including recent finds of two rare Damselflies spotted close to Battlemead suggesting they will also be on the site near the White Brook. The botany of the area has not yet been fully assessed but well over 130 plant species have been identified there so far.
Drawing by Geoff Emmett Green Sandpiper
Photo: Mick Vogel Cetti's Warbler
Photo: Nick Bell Common Darters
Photo: Janet Daley Wetlands
Photo: Ian Skillings Grey Heron