Rachel Shaw of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust writes about the Lincolnshire Environmental Awards.
I don’t know how many times I have driven into Boston and passed Hubbert’s Bridge, but the existence of Boston West Golf Centre has never registered with me. I wouldn’t really expect it to as I’m not a golfer. But after the finals of the Lincolnshire Environmental Awards I now realise I’ve been missing out. Not on playing golf (though perhaps that too!) but in the knowledge that nestled between the arable fields is an oasis for wildlife that is also a golf course.
Better known for neatly manicured greens of perfectly tendered grass, golf courses aren’t the first places we think of as being great for wildlife. Boston West Golf Centre proves that wildlife and golf can exist side by side.
As well as saving energy with solar panels, recycling as much as possible and re-using water, the centre has made significant efforts to create habitats for wildlife between the golf playing areas. These include 14 water features, a 1-hectare reedbed, 3.5km of hedgerow and 3,000 square metres of wildflower meadow. There are also log piles, insect hotels, over 100 nest boxes and a brick built barn owl tower.
The results are evident in the numbers of animals recorded, with over 100 different species of bird seen on the course, 39 of which breed, including the threatened tree sparrow; 25 species of mammal including water vole; and 18 species of butterfly and 127 species of moth.
A nature trail that winds round the golf course and through all the key habitats is used for guided walks and for monitoring wildlife.
The Lincolnshire Environmental Awards is a remarkable showcase of businesses, communities, farmers and schools that are doing amazing things to help reduce their impact on the planet and make space for wildlife. And there are some amazing things going on. For example, the Branston Potatoes site near Lincoln is generating 40 per cent of its electricity from waste potatoes and produces no waste for landfill; and family farm FG Battle & Sons is providing habitats for wildlife – this year there were 55 pairs of grey partridge and over the last nine years, 76 barn owl chicks have fledged from the farm.
Boston West Golf Course manager Richard Owens said: “It’s fantastic to know that so many people are doing good things for the environment. Our county is in great hands.”