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Burgeoning biodiversity at Kings Dyke

Privet hawk-moth

Nature reserve celebrates 20th anniversary as BioBlitz beats last year’s biodiversity success

A RECENT intensive wildlife survey carried out at a Cambridgeshire nature reserve has revealed a greater number of species on site than last summer, when it was named the UK’s most biodiverse site following Chris Packham’s UK BioBlitz 2018.

Kings Dyke Nature Reserve in Whittlesey, Peterborough, held an independent BioBlitz on the 20th anniversary of the reserve’s opening in June, during which the on-site management and a team of volunteers recorded each species spotted on site over a two-day period.

The survey counted approximately 1,250 wildlife species, ranging from birds and moths to moss and lichen, of which more than 100 were new to the reserve and two were new to Cambridgeshire.

Opened in 1999 on the site of a former brick quarry, the reserve is owned by Forterra and their adjacent Kings Dyke brickworks is sole producer of the historic and locally significant London Brick.

The reserve was established for the benefit of local schools and the surrounding community and has been regularly extended over the last two decades.

Last year’s UK BioBlitz, an independent survey of 50 wildlife sites led by TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham, dubbed Kings Dyke Nature Reserve the UK’s most biodiverse wildlife area after 1,111 different species were recorded there last summer.

Phil Parker, who runs Kings Dyke Nature Reserve on Forterra’s behalf, said: ‘This year’s species count is considerably higher than last summer’s, which is great news as it suggests that both Kings Dyke Nature Reserve and the region as a whole are thriving ecologically.

‘The result is a fantastic way to celebrate our 20th anniversary, and we hope to repeat the BioBlitz with equally positive results for many years to come.’

Following last year’s UK BioBlitz, Chris Packham said: ‘The data that suggests that former brownfield sites – quarries in this instance – offer the most diverse spread of species, deserves further investigation.

‘Brownfield sites are particularly important for promoting biodiversity, invertebrates especially; and, if sympathetically managed, sites such as Kings Dyke Nature Reserve can flourish.’

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