Eco-wall to Protect Wildlife on the Golf Course

Jan 6, 2017 | Jenni Ashford

The greenkeepers at Exeter Golf and Country Club have created an eco-wall on the golf course as a winter haven for wildlife.

The eco wall has been constructed using old pallets and lengths of timber. The timber is mainly 4 foot logs from the tree maintenance work on the golf course during the warmer weather. The pallets are filled with smaller pieces of timber to form mini bug hotels.
Located against a fence behind the ‘Halfway House’ – an old potting shed by the 8th hole on the golf course, converted last summer as a refreshments stop-off and seating area for golfers – the eco-wall is already providing a winter shelter for wildlife. Eco-walls create a safe refuge for a multitude of over-wintering and hibernating insects, reptiles and mammals. This is especially important during the colder winter nights which have recently dropped to below -5 degrees centigrade, meaning the ground is frozen for most of the day.

Hedgehogs will be one of the mammals to feel the benefit of the eco-wall. With numbers in decline over the last fifty years from 36 million to less than 1 million, it is more important than ever to protect hedgehogs by providing habitats for their winter hibernation between December and mid-March. As well as shelter, eco-walls provide a great hunting ground for hedgehogs so they have access to enough food to build fat reserves for their hibernation. The eco-system provided by a wall, or even something as simple as a pile of logs in the garden, is a great way to do this, thanks to the multitude of insects attracted to the same habitat.

As well as insects and hedgehogs, other wildlife supported by the eco-wall include small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, fungi, wood-boring insects, woodlice, beetles and grubs.

John Parr, Golf Course Manager said, “Protecting the wildlife on the golf course is of utmost importance to me and my team of greenkeepers. We are lucky to have an expansive parkland golf course, just minutes from Exeter city centre. The 120 acre course is a green oasis surrounded by urban development and so we always strive to create more and more areas of the course where nature can flourish. We have pockets of wild flowers and wild hedgerows across the course to encourage wildlife, butterflies, bees and birds. We have bird nesting boxes on many of our well-established trees. Last year we improved the area around the stream which flows through the course and created a pond opposite our Georgian manor house on the 18th hole. We have already seen the benefit of this with regular sightings of Kingfishers, Egrets and a family of Moorhens. The eco-wall is our latest effort and one we will continue to develop this winter and next.”

Find about more about the golf course at Exeter Golf and Country Club.

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