Ecology – at the heart of BWT’s mission

Bearsted Woodland Trust (BWT) maintains, enhances and promotes the ecology of its green space through a number of initiatives that benefit both the area’s natural habitat and the visitor experience. 

Among these initiatives, co-ordinated by BWT Management Committee member Adrian Bouwens, is the creation of dry or 'dead' hedges in Church Meadow. Made of piles of branches and twigs arranged to form a barrier, these dry hedges provide a way to dispose of the material that arises from thinning or clearing operations in our woodland. 

Using surplus branches in this way is good for wildlife - especially for small mammals and birds - because it gives them somewhere to shelter that is protected from predators and from the wind and rain. It's also good for insects: dead hedges in effect create a linear eco-pile.

BWT’s green space has also been enhanced by the creation of wild flower areas. Part of Main Field has been sown with a wild flower mixture containing 27 different varieties of wild flower. These mixes, containing annuals, biennials and perennials, provide ideal pollinators to attract butterflies, bees and other insects. Other areas are also being sown with similar wild flower mixes. 

Grassland benefits from BWT’s regular maintenance regime, with volunteers mowing between March and October. Regular cutting improves the grassland for wild flowers and wildlife but also ensures visitors have easy access to sponsored trees. The mowing regime deliberately leaves areas of longer grass to provide natural wildlife ‘corridors’, while areas under young trees are cut more regularly to help the trees become properly established.

Trees and hedges are also regularly trimmed and cut throughout BWT’s green space. Maintenance volunteers carry out inspections of trees and trim and pollard where necessary, while a contractor is employed to cut our many metres of carefully mixed hedges. 

BWT also ensures visitors are kept informed about flora and fauna with information boards at key points throughout the site. Plans are underway to introduce Quick Response (QR) codes to augment these boards, providing instant links to more in-depth information on BWT’s website. Visitors are also able to record their own nature notes

All the work to develop BWT’s green space ecology initiatives has been undertaken by the team of volunteers working with Adrian. The success of this community volunteer engagement has led to a decade of recognition by the prestigious Green Flag Awards scheme. The Green Flag Award, based on international standards, provides a benchmark of excellence for community-led park and other green space projects.


Wild flowers in Main Meadow

Read our BWT green flag report below.