A habitat plan to support biodiversity and wildlife in Dittisham 30/06/2021

Dittisham Parish Council has been working with Sustainable Dittisham to create a Habitat Plan for the land owned and managed by the council.

Dittisham Parish Council has been working hard to create a Habitat Plan so they can manage their land to improve biodiversity and support wildlife in the area. The council has worked with the Sustainable Dittisham (SusDit) group to achieve this.

This involved a review of the land so the council could see what it already had, what should be kept as-is, what could be enhanced and how. Following the review, the council was able to adjust the maintenance contract which has meant a lower yearly spend on maintenance, saving the council money!

In some areas of the land the council has allowed areas to grow wilder at the back, but maintaining a neat short border to clearly mark the edge. This makes it clearer that the land management is deliberate. The photo above is an example of this ‘mullet management’; the crocuses are planted in the neat front of this triangle of land, with the back being allowed to grow more wild. The crocuses were donated by Dartmouth Rotary to mark the near-elimination of polio.

The first phase of enhancements saw around 50 trees being planted; the second phase will see a wildflower margin allowed to grow around the Ham recreational grass area, with additional shrubs being planted. The minimal cost of the plants is being shared between the Parish Council and the Parish of Dittisham Charity, with work being done by councillors (see a picture below of one of Dittisham’s councillors on planting day!) and members of SusDit.

Dittisham Parish Council is part of the wider Sustainable South Hams network of groups, where councils and groups share information, collaborate on projects and mentor each other. The council has also joined the Devon Parish and Town Council Wildlife Network and was very proud to be featured at the Wild About Devon launch meeting.

Lessons Learned

Reflecting on the project, the council feels that all working groups should have been involved at an earlier stage. Once communication between the groups had improved, with the council inviting everyone to a meeting, progress went very well. The parish council has stressed the importance of partnership working, with every member of organisations being invited to engage with these sorts of projects.

Next Steps

The council plans to take the South Hams District Council climate and biodiversity plan, and the Devon Carbon Plan (once finalised), to pull out the elements relevant to Dittisham. These will then form part of Dittisham’s own wider Climate and Environmen Plan, helping the council to deliver some of the aims of the district and county councils.

Thanks to Cllr Sune Nightingale, Dittisham Parish Council, for providing this story. 

Councillor Ros Neale, wet but happy, on a planting day!