Kings Pightle nature reserve

Categories: Ancient hedgerow, Birds, and Featured. Scrapbook: Bildeston.

My Wild Life is a weekly column running each Saturday throughout 2015 in the East Anglian Daily Times. Each week it features stories of action for local wildlife.

Kings Pightle is a nature reserve located close to the village of Bildeston, a small village that lies in the arable heartland of Suffolk, not too far from Stowmarket.

The nature reserve is still young. Although the land was purchased by the village in 1994; it only opened as a nature reserve in 2010. The group has a philosophic outlook on the slow progress – in fact, they believe it’s this period of ‘neglect’ that led to the habitat, rich in wildlife, that they have today.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust helped local residents develop a conservation plan for the site and a discovery day was held in 2012, organised by the project group and the Trust, where local people were invited to come along and find out more about this new nature reserve on their doorstep.

The reserve provides a valuable refuge for birds, plants and animals. It is open to the public year round and can be accessed by foot from Bildeston sportsfield.

Now a haven for wildlife the areas of short grass, such as the regularly mown grass paths are valuable basking areas for cold-blooded animals. The ancient hedgerows, that form part of the reserve boundary support many species, as do the mature trees, including the Biodiversity Action Plan Species black poplar.

The installation of barn owl boxes on the site is testament to the quality of the habitat. Areas of rough grassland support good numbers of small mammals to sustain a barn owl population.

The trees, hedgerows and scrub provide a varied habitat for birds – for roosting, nesting, cover and food, as well as protection for small mammals and invertebrates.

Kings Pightle nature reserve has come a long way since its founder, the late John Artiss realiesd his vision for a ‘pocket park’ and found the perfect site in Kings Pightle. The purchase in 1994, supported by Babergh District Council, has led to a truly valuable, and valued community space that continues to grow and flourish.

In the year ahead the group will monitor their new barn owl nest boxes and encourage local people to come and make use of the new seating and study area and bird hide that has been generously funded by Biffaward.