Flying Stag Beetle, Mayford
Male Stag Beetle, Mayford
The Mayford Village Society feels strongly about the protection of the local wildlife and the preservation of important habitat areas.
It is a precious asset to the village that needs protecting. The village supports a good population of rural wildlife including some endangered UK species such as Hedgehogs and Stag Beetles.
There are certain priority species some of which are in the top 10 UK's most endangered living in Mayford that we can help, by creating habitats and monitoring and recording sightings.
Below are some of the creatures that need our help!
WATER VOLE (Conservation Status: Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and class as a Priority
Although the Water Vole is thought to be extinct in Surrey one of its last strongholds was in the Hoe at Mayford.
Mayford is fortunate to have areas in the Village along the River Hoe that are capable of providing a suitable habitat for the now extremely rare water vole as it has done in the past.
We would love to see the water vole return to the River Hoe.
A Water Vole such as the one above used to be a familar sight in the Hoe at Mayford
This devastating decline in water vole numbers in Surrey is due to a number of reasons, mainly predation and habitat loss. The invasive American Mink, the water vole’s main predator, was first imported into the UK in the 1920’s for the fur trade, but a steady stream of escapes and later releases mean that mink are present on many of our rivers. They are agile, adept swimmers and can squeeze down a water vole’s burrow making them extremely effective predators.
Many of the riverside habitats in Surrey have been modified by humans in some way, leading to the gradual loss of the natural, meandering river habitat with wide swathes of leafy vegetation needed by water voles. Aside from the obvious impact on animals where habitat is destroyed, the remaining populations also become isolated which leaves them vulnerable to other threats from predators, disease, pollution and extreme fluctuations in water levels.
2. Report any sighting of a Mink to firstname.lastname@example.org
HEDGEHOG (Conservation status Classified as a Priority Species in the UK)
The once common Hedgehog is now under threat from development and habitat loss. Combined, our gardens provide a space for wildlife larger than all our National Nature Reserves, so by gardening in a wildlife-friendly way, we can help our spiny companions to find a home and to move safely between habitats to find mates and food. Hedgehogs will also helpfully hoover up any unwanted slugs and snails, so no need to use poisonous slug pellets. If you have a Hedgehog in the garden, you can help it out by putting down a little cat food and leaving a pile of leaves or logs for it to hibernate under. But don't forget to check your bonfire before you light it!
This much-loved creature has seen a harsh decline in the last 70 years. In 1950 there were an estimated 36 million hedgehogs in the UK. Sadly, reports last year suggested that had dropped to just one million in 2013, a third of levels at the start of the century.
It is considered to be partly due to warmer winters that have affected their hibernation patterns, waking them up at the wrong time of year, before there is enough food around. New roads and building developments constructed in their habitat may also be a factor.
WE CAN HELP BY
1.Report any Hedgehog sighting to email@example.com
Stag Beetle (Conservation status: Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Classified as a Priority Species in the UK)
The Stag Beetle is the UK's largest beetle and is found in south-east England, particularly in south and west London. It prefers oak woodlands, but can be found in gardens, hedgerows and parks. The larvae depend on old trees and rotting wood to live in and feed on, and can take up to six years to develop before they pupate and turn into adults. The adults have a much shorter lifespan: they emerge in May with the sole purpose of mating, and die in August once the eggs have been laid in a suitable piece of decaying wood. Look for the adults on balmy summer evenings, when the males fly in search of mates. Once the male has found a mate, he displays his famously massive, antler-like jaws to her, and uses them to fight off rival males, in a similar fashion to deer.
Slow-Worm (Conservation status: Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Classified as a Priority Species in the UK)
Despite their name and appearance, slow-worms are neither worms nor snakes, but are in fact lizards - they're given away by their ability to shed their tails and blink with their eyelids. They can be found in heathland, tussocky grassland, woodland edges and rides: anywhere they can find invertebrates to eat and a sunny patch in which to sunbathe. They are often found in mature gardens and allotments, where they like hunting around the compost heap. However, if you have a cat, you are unlikely to find them in your garden as cats predate them. Like other reptiles, slow-worms hibernate, usually from October to March.
WE CAN HELP BY
The loss of our heathland and grassland habitats through human activity threatens the survival of our reptiles. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure these habitats are protected by fostering Living Landscape schemes: networks of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can help: look after slow-worms and other reptiles in your garden by leaving piles of logs for hibernating beneath. In partnership with the RHS, The Wildlife Trusts' Wild About Gardens initiative can help you plan your wildlife garden.
The Future of Mayford's Wildlife
Although Mayford is only just hanging on to its semi-rural status it has since time began been full of open space and as such supported a full diversity of British Wildlife.
In recent years Mayford has been pounded by building machines and certain areas have seen a substantial decline in wildlife.
Along Egley Road in particular, the wildlife levels have changed dramatically due to the large-scale development it has seen on the Greenbelt. Residents have reported significant declines in Garden Birds, Deer, Hedgehogs, Owls etc.
Surveys established the presence of special British reptiles on Egley Road in the form of Slow Worms and Common Lizards.
Lots of Egley Road's wildlife was relocated to Horsell and a large amount killed in the neighbouring field when the landowner dragged a large plough over rabbit warrens and reptile burrows in an act which is clearly a Wildlife Crime.
Both bird nesting sites and bat habitat has been lost along with most of the resident Roe Deer population, lots of which has been killed on the road due to large fences being erected around the Egley Road greenbelt site.
The Village society is determined to save Mayford's wildlife assets for future generations to appreciate and hopes to receive a well-deserved respite from intrusive development to allow the wildlife to recover.
We are working closely with are partners to preserve vital habitats and help these creatures survive.