A bumble bee helps us out on pollination by feeding on one of our strawberry flowers hero bee hotel Chislet beetle bank in the spring Beetle bank at Chislet in the Autumn The lake at Broad Oak Farm Wildflower Wildflower borders chaffinch nest 2 birds nest
Wildlife

With top quality produce being directly linked to a healthy strong ecosystem, protecting local biodiversity is a top priority. Giving our fruit the best possible start on their journey to your table requires a well balanced ecosystem, something to which we are proactive and committed to providing, with numerous projects and investments underway.

Bees

‘Operation bumblebee’ is a project very much in the public eye due to the steep decline in populations across the UK in the last thirty years. One of the 20 bumblebee species has disappeared altogether, and three other species are on the verge of extinction. Six bumblebee species are at precariously low populations and three bumblebee species are categorised as ‘on the verge of extinction’. Recognising that the bumblebee plays a key role in pollinating the flowers which will eventually produce our fruit, the project aims to grow populations in line with a three year plan comprising of wildlife corridors, beetle banks and 100 bee hotels being pledged each year. These initiatives are providing an increasing number of sanctuaries for a variety of insects other than bees including butterflies, beetles and ladybirds.

The focus on bees has also been extended to a study, being carried out by a PhD student at the University of Worcester, into the implications of wildflower areas on population numbers of pollinators, in particular solitary bees. Environmental plantings and wildflower areas are being encouraged and monitored to see how, and if, they facilitate population increases in the species. The purpose is to understand the factors affecting natural insect pollination in order so that we can target the barriers successfully.

Birds

Our commitment to the environment does not stop at encouraging pollinators. Looking to protect and encourage a wide variety of wildlife, we are simultaneously protecting the existing habitats for birds and animals on our farms and actively creating new ones.

In 2012, a bird survey was commissioned on our farms in an attempt to understand where to target our ecological efforts. Carried out by Kent Wildlife Trust, it was determined that the numbers and diversity of birds in our trees was strong. Spurred on by the encouraging results we continue our work towards protecting and developing these populations.

Subsequently, there has been a noticeable increase in the Common Buzzard population whilst the endangered Skylark has been seen nesting in the areas surrounding our reservoirs. Careful orchard planning has created the ideal natural surroundings to cultivate the numbers of these birds, with plenty of woodland roosting sites being made available enabling both species to prosper.