Rewilding the Bulwick and Harringworth Estate

MKA Ecology has been involved in rewilding parts of the Bulwick and Harringworth Estate. We’ve been gathering baseline data at the estate and found a few exciting finds.

The brief

Bulwick and Harringworth is a 1,600-hectare estate in the Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire. The estate is undertaking an exciting project involving the rewilding of poor farmland, environmental enhancements of farmland, and the restoration of historic parkland, within a major Countryside Stewardship Scheme application.

In 2021 MKA Ecology was commissioned by Natural England and the estate to undertake baseline ecological surveys and provide ecological advice during the development of the estate-wide masterplan for future management and habitat creation.

What did we do?

MKA Ecology developed bespoke, repeatable methodologies for ecological surveys that enabled this large-scale site to be surveyed effectively and efficiently. These methodologies challenged the initial tender brief and proposed alternative procedures and additional surveys where deemed necessary.

Baseline surveys for birds, reptiles, bats, butterflies and plants with UK Habitat classification and condition assessments were undertaken for the estate to provide baseline Biodiversity Net Gain figures. Our ecologists assessed habitats and conditions using tablets in the field to quickly and accurately capture data.

Notable results included the recording of:

• over 100 bird species, with over two-thirds of Northamptonshire’s breeding species found to breed onsite
• an impressive 30 butterfly species (out of 36 that occur in the county)
• a new colony of the localised dingy skipper

whilst the botanical and baseline surveys discovered:

• county rarities such as mousetail, fragrant agrimony and long-stalked crane’s-bill
• populations of grass snake and common lizard
• bat species including the rare barbastelle.

What was the outcome for the client?

A draft masterplan was produced for the consultation. It includes the ‘wilding’ of certain areas which will be taken out of arable production and intensive pasture for the creation of scrub, wood pasture and species-rich grassland habitat. Other areas of the estate will remain in farming but targeted for improved ecological value under stewardship schemes. The historic parkland habitat will be restored. Initial feedback from Natural England and from local communities has been extremely positive.

Find out more about how we can help – call us to discuss
01763 262211 or email info@mkaecology.co.uk

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What our clients said

“This project has greatly benefitted from the generosity of time and expertise given by MKA Ecology”

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