The current crisis has really highlighted the need for a healthier relationship between human activity and the natural world and I’m proud that Prologis has a longstanding and enduring commitment to sustainable development. During National Biodiversity Week 2020, I caught up with Jane Pearman, from the Wildlife Trust BCN, for the latest update about life at Lilbourne Meadows.

Although human activity has been placed on pause during the current crisis, at Lilbourne Meadows, the 193-acre nature reserve we’re creating with the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire, it’s been business as usual for the plants, insects, birds and animals that rely on the diverse habitats being created.

Once complete this new nature reserve, created as part of our DIRFT development in Northamptonshire, will provide a mixed habitat of wetland and grassland with extensive hedgerows. Already large flocks of birds have been utilising the newly created lakes and wet grassland, while the Wildlife Trust’s rare breed sheep have been grazing the grassland pasture to help improve the habitat for wildflowers and invertebrates.

After a very, very wet winter, the fields have finally dried out and the hay meadows have been closed to allow the plants to grow and set seed.  Thanks to the good weather, we had a very successful lambing season and the ewes and lambs are now happily grazing various fields to keep them in good condition and create a range of habitats. Like many sheep across the country, the ‘Lilbourne lambs’ were also displaying their thanks to our NHS heroes. Coloured stock spray is routinely used to identify ewes and their lambs and doesn’t harm the animals in any way: this year, however, many people were just a little bit more creative with their marking systems to show their appreciation for NHS workers.

Breeding season is in full swing at Lilbourne meadows; on the flooded areas we currently have oystercatchers, little ringed plovers and lapwings with chicks and the hay meadows are alive with the sound of skylarks and meadow pipits.  Butterflies and dragonflies can also be seen flitting around the grassland and ponds, oblivious to the chaos occurring in the human world.

Work on Phase 2 of Lilbourne Meadows has started and is fully underway with a lot of earth moving taking place at the moment to create the ‘bund’ areas and screen the nature reserve and the village from the DIRFT development.  The plan is that the wildlife habitats at Lilbourne Meadows will finalised by the end of this year and hopefully opened up to the public soon after that.