The Harts Farm fields (B1) site is home to an established flood plain on two sides. The inclusion of a flood plain creates its own dynamic mix in this unique bio diverse environment. This area, which is constantly sodden even in summer months and can be considered to be a water meadow, coupled with the hedgerows, lends itself to be a micro-nature reserve.
There are also two ancient Right of Way public footpaths that cross the land giving people the opportunity to visit this creative wildlife area. Marked as B40 and B33 on the illustration, they are designated as ‘definitive’ on all walking maps and maintained by Hertfordshire County Council. To learn more about our local footpaths, please visit the Bushey and District Footpaths Association website.
Although there are other places in the county that offer similar environments, not all are accessible to the public and most importantly, there are no other places in Bushey that offer all these vital constituents in one place.
There has been a recent and noticeable decline in foraging wildlife like badgers and hedgehogs. Even rabbits and hares are becoming scarce. These are animals that were often in this area, are now rarely seen and too often only as carcasses on the roadside.
They are slowly being squeezed out of their natural habitat and forced to cross human infrastructure that has ever-increasing traffic. The band of land that runs through the Harts Farm fields proposal gives a last remaining passage, allows wildlife from other areas to come here to feed.
Specific species that are using this land include:
- a colony of pipistrelle bats is confirmed to be on the site. Over the years their habitats eg hedges, ponds and old grassland, where bats like to hunt, have declined in number and they have also lost many of their traditional roosting places, such as hollow trees. Pipstrelle bats are protected under Schedule 2 of the Conservation Regulations Act, 1994;
- a permanent family of Canada geese and a larger migrating colony that comes twice a year. Canada geese have life-long mates and are a beautiful addition to the environment. Relying on the water meadow and flood plain for their food source, Canada geese are protected under the Wildlife and Country Act, 1981; and
- muntjac deer who are commonly seen coming in and out of the hedgerows that provide cover for these naturally timid creatures. Muntjac deer are protected under the Deer Act, 1991.