Countryside Management Students Put Theory into Practise on College Estate
Hadlow College's Countryside Management students have recently been out in force spending their practical sessions establishing and developing habitat on the main College estate.
Projects undertaken include gapping up existing hedges to improve them and planting new hedges to increase wildlife diversity, aesthetic amenity and soften boundaries. These new hedges will improve connectivity for a range of species and greatly add to the value of our habitat assets. All hedge species used have valuable flower, foliage and berry features and are native to the UK. Dead-hedging is also being undertaken to protect a developing bog area, adjacent to Broadview Gardens where plant and animal diversity is expected to be greatly enhanced.
We have a number of ponds on the estate, which the students are re-profiling as part of an on-going programme to raise habitat quality and increase diversity of aquatic species. Controlling aquatic plant growth is a favourite task involving plenty of mud and wading. These activities link in with vital survey work used to acquire data essential in informing management for all habitat areas on the Hadlow College estate.
Our Queen Elizabeth wood area requires a constant programme of husbandry to improve diversity and attract further species of wildlife, as well as providing our Countryside Management students with an opportunity to use their developing practical skills for responsible woodland management.
Summer nest boxes have been installed for dormice in order to survey for their presence and population, however, dormouse survey work involving the disturbance and handling of dormice in nest boxes or nest tubes requires a licence, therefore this work is carried out under strict supervision only.
Fencing projects have also been undertaken to enhance diversity along a water course and prevent animals from grazing too close to the river.
Countryside Management students from all courses get involved in surveying habitats and species across the Hadlow estate and can make use of their dedicated area, known as the ‘Bodge’, to practice and develop the skills needed.
As ever great emphasis is placed on the importance of students meeting industry practitioners, visits to sites are arranged as often as possible as well as guest speakers invited to bring their expertise into their class based learning. Recent visits have embraced urban conservation, woodland management, game management, deer management, bird ringing, amphibian conservation and the wider appreciation of landscape history and management.
If you are interested in gaining an understanding of British wildlife and habitats, whilst developing practical skills, then a Countryside Management course at Hadlow College is the ideal entry into an ever expanding industry which is always topical and extremely diverse in opportunity.