Fauna lies within the Morecambe Bay Nature Improvement Area, and the Fairfield Association has been awarded the Lancashire Environment Fund 2012 Best Practice Award (Natural Environment) for our work in the Reserve:
- We installed a permissive footpath and associated fencing, running from the entrance to Fairfield Orchard to the bottom of Cromwell Road, to afford more local walking for the public, new views and the possibility of observing the wildlife and heritage White Park cattle in the reserve. The footpath is for walkers only, apart from disabled people who have asked for a special permit (please visit our Contact Us page to request one), and dogs should be kept on leads at all times;
- We created nine ponds and pools, some of which have sluices to help control water levels, and some associated berms. One of the reserve’s most important features is a habitat for wading and wetland birds and so making the lower areas wetter was a prime concern;
- We laid and planted hedges (more than 3,000 plants) around the perimeter of the reserve, to encourage insect life and small mammals and to provide cover and nesting sites for small birds;
- We have installed nest boxes to provide nesting places while the laid hedges re-grow;
- We planted 1,000 rushes in the wettest area, south of Lucy Brook, to provide cover for nesting water birds. In time we may even attract occasional bittern;
- We have begun to create a wildflower meadow in one of the fields. To do this, we first of all had to remove vast quantities of ragwort from the whole site, so that the meadow herbs and flowers could be mowed and fed to the White Park cattle in the winter. It took two years of initial ragwort removal before the hay was no longer poisonous to cattle. We continue to mow the grass and re-seed with local wildflower seeds on an annual basis and the wildflower meadow is improving year on year;
- We installed a set of five stone gateposts (found on the site) at the Orchard end of the permissive footpath and had had them carved by Joanna Szuwalska, the sculptor who carved the stones in the Orchard, so that the two sets of entrance stones had a similar style;
- We installed a smaller carving near the Cromwell Road entrance to the footpath.
On Saturday 5th October 2013, we combined our annual Apple Day with a special Party in the Paddock, to celebrate the creation of the Fauna nature reserve in 2012. We are very grateful to Community Spaces (who originally gave us £50,000 towards the Fauna project out of a total of around £130,000) for providing the money to hire a marquee and a folk group and to buy food and non-alcoholic drink for the celebration.
Lots of people came, a great time was had by all and we also raised about £180 for funds in donations and sale of jam etc, in spite of the fact that we did not really intend it to be a fund-raising event.
We also used the day to celebrate our purchase of the Flora fields which we will add to the Fauna Reserve. The combination of Fairfield Orchard, Fauna and Flora provides our area with about 50 acres of nature-friendly green space.