The Vale Golf and Country Club in Pershore will be receiving some new visitors later this year as it welcomes hundreds of grass snakes and slow worms relocated from nearby Drakes Broughton, along with a host of other new wildlife.
The new reptile-friendly habitat created on the 300-acre site is the result of a partnership between housebuilder Bovis Homes, environmental consultants EDP, ecological landscapers Three Shires Ltd and the club.
The 10-year project, which is being funded by Bovis Homes, will see areas of the course transformed with new wildflower meadows, woodland rides and glades, and the installation of bird, bat and insect hibernation boxes. Designed by EDP, the new enriched habitat will be delivered by Three Shires.
“The work taking place at the Vale Golf and Country Club is an extraordinary undertaking,” says Mark Slater, land director for Bovis Homes' Western region. “These enhancements will create the perfect home for the slow worms and grass snakes, and will also attract other wildlife. The golf club will be a haven for all sorts of creatures and the new features, such as wildflower habitats and hibernation boxes, which will bring colour and new attractions for visitors.”
The new wildlife habitat is part of a translocation project and will see the reptiles moved from a Bovis Homes location in nearby Drakes Broughton to the specially designed home at the club. The new development will bring a range of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes to the area.
“The reptile translocation project at the Vale offers the opportunity to protect not only the local grass snake and slow worm population, but also brings a number of benefits to local biodiversity,” explains James Bird, principal ecologist at EDP.
“The enhancement works needed at the Vale to ready the site for the translocation will see the creation of a new woodland ride system with open glades and scalloped edges, with new wildflower meadows created throughout the woodland and in existing rough ground on the course. We will be creating new places for wildlife to breed, hibernate and forage throughout the course by installing reptile log piles and shelters, 20 bird boxes, including a barn owl nest box, 20 bat boxes and 10 invertebrate habitat boxes.
“The long-term maintenance of these new habitats is secured through the 10-year maintenance program designed by EDP, which has been funded by Bovis Homes and appointed to Three Shires Ltd.”
Mark Heath, course manager at The Vale Golf and Country Club, said: “The club is delighted to have been chosen to provide habitat for the relocation of the reptiles. We are ideally situated to provide an environment that is safe and in keeping with the natural habitats in which these creatures currently reside. We are proud to have been selected by Bovis Homes to help with the project and are enthusiastic about the long-term prospects that this will provide for the course. By working together with Bovis Homes, EDP and Three Shires, we are able to support our own conservation policy and preservation of the environment for many years to come.”
James Lloyd, director at Three Shires Ltd said: “Three Shires is delighted to have been instructed by Bovis Homes to deliver such a high-quality habitat creation scheme at the Vale Golf and Country Club. This scheme, along with its 10-year management and maintenance program, as a structured undertaking, is the first of its kind in our 20 years of experience. The habitat restoration to take place across the six selected areas will create places for biodiversity to thrive, and people to enjoy, building on the work done already by the Vale's golf course management team.
“The project would not have been possible without the foresight and forward thinking of Bovis Homes, their ecological advisers EDP or the cooperation of the Vale Golf and Country Club. Full credit must be given to all parties for getting this exceptional project to the point of delivery. The rest is now down to Three Shires to make it happen at both the Vale and at the Drakes Broughton donor site. We look forward to working with the team and seeing this exciting project come to fruition.”
Work is due to start this month, with the translocation of the slow worms and grass snakes starting in April.