Pond dipping at Carnaile Pond, Alconbury Weald

Over the last year, there has been a surge of interest in nature and wildlife in the local area. To help explore the network of green corridors, pockets of woodlands, grassland and waterway at Alconbury Weald, naturalist and TV presenter Mike Dilger hosted a series of ‘Wild Weald’ events to introduce local residents to the abundance of wildlife on their doorstep.

Urban&Civic, master developer of Alconbury Weald, teamed up with housebuilders, Crest Nicholson and Hopkins Homes to invite the local community to discover more about the fascinating ecology at the development. Events included an early morning search for critters, pond dipping in Carnaile Pond, a butterfly and bug hut, and an evening bat walk.

Children and adults on the morning session were delighted to find a grass snake as well as moths of all shapes and sizes, whilst the pond dippers discovered an interesting selection of water stick insects, pond skaters and newts. The bats were more elusive, but a couple were spotted later in the evening.

Mike Dilger said: “Thanks to everyone who took part for putting the ‘wild' into the Weald. The day was blessed with the most wonderful weather as residents came out in their throngs for a spot of snake wrangling, moth trapping, pond-dipping, bug-spotting and bat watching. Keen to see the wildlife thriving just beyond their doorstep, attendances were really impressive for every event, and I trust everyone from eight months to eighty years old went away having gained a deeper appreciation of the power of nature to excite and inspire.

“A special shout-out to all the younger nature detectives who came along and powered the whole weekend with their endless energy and enthusiasm!”

Karen Coulson, Sales & Marketing Director at Crest Nicholson Eastern, said: “We are delighted to contribute to Alconbury Weald’s Wild Weald event, donating dipping nets and containers for the children to enjoy. At Crest Nicholson we are committed to not only building homes, but also creating thriving communities and it was great to see the children immersing themselves in the great outdoors, learning all about the local wildlife through fun, interactive activities."

Monika Hanlon, Group Sales and Marketing Director for Hopkins Homes, said: “Over the last 18 months we’ve all grown to appreciate even more just how important the natural environment and outdoor space are for our health and well-being.  At Hopkins Homes, we don’t just build homes, we build communities; so it was fantastic that people had this brilliant opportunity to discover more about the rich variety of wildlife on the doorstep in Alconbury Weald.”

For anyone who wasn’t able to attend the Wild Weald events, extensive wayfinding is installed in Alconbury Weald with information about the features, amenities, ecology and heritage to help you explore. You can also listen to Mike’s Wild Weald podcast at www.alconbury-weald.co.uk/podcast