Brownfield sites are rapidly becoming some of the most valuable environments for many species in the UK. Often the last ‘wild spaces’ left for local communities these sites are unexpected havens for many invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles and plant life. The varying topography and low nutrient soils create perfect micro-climates for basking, nesting and hunting.
The Cambridge railway sidings were one such example of a species rich brownfield site. Recently transformed into the Cambridge North station this site was lost. Bramblefields nature reserve in Chesterton is adjacent to the new station. It therefore seemed logical to try and re-create some of the conditions lost by the development in this reserve.
An area of low species count was chosen on the reserve to do this. A low nutrient substrate was put down on top of a weed suppressant membrane. Then a varied topography was created with small pools and wood piles. A calcareous seed mix was put down to hopefully gain a few nectar rich plants for this summer. The area will be monitored closely in the coming seasons to see what species are attracted. Hopefully exciting updates will follow!