Rewilding and Consultancy

REWILDING

  • Habitat creation projects including wildflower meadows, hedgerow and tree planting and pond creation. A major example of this is our Roborough Fields Rewilding project in Devon

Rewilding Roborough Fields

‘Rewilding Roborough Fields’ is a rewilding venture started in May 2020 by Water Gems’ director Nick Benge. To get this project started and to help his vision become a reality, Nick has assembled an enthusiastic team of people – from experienced Water Gems staff to like-minded friends, who are all as excited about this project as he is.

With Nick’s knowledge and experience, along with the skills and expertise of the team, the aim is to give the ten-acre plot of land in North Devon a new energy, creating a biodiversity hotspot for both plant and animal communities.

The plan is to create a dense mosaic of Devonbank hedgerows, wildflower meadows and pools, cramming in as much habitat into the space as possible and then watch all the native plants and animals move in – “Build it and they will come.”

To find out more about this project, please visit the Rewilding Roborourgh Fields website where you can also become a Friend of the Fields.  Alternatively, contact Nick directly on 07734 386243, or by emailing roboroughfields@outlook.com

In July 2020, experts from the ecological consultancy firm Clarkson & Woods conducted a baseline survey of the fields. Since then, several of the Water Gems team have visited the site to dig the ponds, plant trees and install wildlife boxes.

Below are some recent photographs of the plants and wildlife that are now thriving in the fields after only a few months since the pond and planting work.

Emperor Dragonfly by Paul Hopkinson
Emperor Dragonfly
Scarlet Pimpernel by Paul Hopkinson
Scarlet Pimpernel
Young Toad
Peacock Butterfly
Emerald Damselfly
Four Spotted Chaser
Bramble Flower
Meadow Brown

Photos supplied courtesy of Paul Hopkinson and Jo Everitt, who have agreed to be “Wardens of the Fields” – to watch over the fields and provide regular updates on the effectiveness of the rewilding project.

Plans for the proposed changes to Roborough Fields

CONSULTANCY

  • As a result of the years of experience carrying out environmental projects and the more recent Roborough Fields Rewilding project, Water Gems has recently started helping landowners with practical plans for increasing biodiversity on their land. The starting point is just a chat about what you are hoping to achieve and this can then be developed into a plan for what needs doing and how. The initial contact for this would normally be Nick Benge.

A recent example is the development of plans for a 3 acre woodland near Drem in East Lothian.

The area has plenty of established trees, snowdrops and blue bells, but almost no understory due to constant grazing pressure from roe deer and rabbits. A deer fence has been put up, wind breaks and hedges have been planted, ensuring the protection of existing regeneration. Further protection has been created by underplanting with shade tolerant native shrubs like hazel and holly. A tawny owl box and 20 other bird boxes were installed across the site, in time for nesting season. In a few years the wood should more closely resemble a natural woodland and there will be all the biodiversity gains associated with this.