Amidst all the building work at St Marys Convent nature is being nurtured and is flourishing.

The swallows and swifts returned this year as usual, a brood of great spotted woodpeckers was raised in the tree beside the greenhouse, the gold finches have been taking grit from the mortar on the boiler house wall and green woodpeckers have been regular visitors to the orchards. In the library quad, where the orchids grow, at least two swarms of bees found a place to rest.

Whilst all this happened with out our help, much is being done to help too, within the building work and elsewhere.

There were many restrictions and special requirements to be observed to protect the significant bat populations at the convent during the building work. Some aspects of the work had to be completed at certain times of year to avoid disturbing hibernating bats or breeding bats. Bat boxes had to be provided to enhance the habits available too.

Out in the grounds many new bird nest boxes have been sited, including an owl box. All were constructed over the winter by the gardening team using scrap wood .

This year for the first time strips of grass have left to grow long, flower and seed. These have provided a habitat for insects, and on hot days a healthy population of crickets could be heard.

It has been good to see that despite the noise and disruption we have still been able to share the green spaces that surround us.