Obtaining County Wildlife Status 2010
In 2010 the Orchards were put forward for recognition as County Wildlife Sites. The Bedfordshire CWS panel (comprising a number of environmental groups and Local Authorities) meets approx. 3 times a year. Natural habitats meeting particular criteria can be put forward for designation as a CWS.
If a site is of sufficient quality notification will be sent to the landowner, there is no requirement for the landowner to manage their site in a particular way and to some degree we are reliant on the goodwill of the landowner to ensure sites remain in good condition
CWS status is recognised in the Development Strategy and Central Bedfordshire Council’s duty to have regard for biodiversity under the NERC Act means that we, as an authority, should not allow activities to cause harm to such sites without adequately assessing the impact.
One will note from the citations that the fact that the orchards are in a neglected state actually allowed for lichen growth on deadwood and the pure nature of a veteran tree in a state of decay makes it more ecologically valuable. Had the site been under strict management for the production of fruit some of these attributes might have been lost. The fact that 2 lichen species previously unknown in Bedfordshire were identified, not to mention the collection of varieties present shows the importance of being aware of the site’s value as a whole and not just from an aesthetic perspective.
Citation for the East Orchard click here
Citation for the West Orchard click here