The Burton Ridge in Long Leys covers around 34 Hectares and is one of the key features that defines the “Green Look” of Long Leys. It offers a variety of grassland and woodland habitats for our wildlife and flora as well as being used by the community for walking, jogging and other activities.
Over the summer NPAG have been working to identify how to help protect and improve different habitats on the Burton Ridge. We are now asking the community for views and feedback on:
- The habitat areas proposed for greater protection in the Neighbourhood Plan
- The types of habitat improvements under consideration
- The potential for community projects such as nature trails and adding bird/bat boxes in key locations.
The areas that merit greater protection will be included in the Neighbourhood Plan. Habitat improvements and community projects will involve LLRA working with landowners, the Long Leys community and other stakeholders to gain agreement and funding where necessary.
Please read the detail in the Burton Ridge Habitat Survey Summary (pdf download) or the overview of findings below. Please email your feedback to NPAG@long-leys.org . Similar surveys are planned in coming months for the allotments and farm land in Long Leys.
1. Habitats To Receive Greater Protection
NPAG feel the following areas should receive greater protection against development in the Neighbourhood Plan (see map for locations):
- Hobblers Hole (Ancient grassland with springs & ephemeral pond)
- Newt Hollow (Ancient grassland, scrub and pond)
- West Cliff wildlife space – land to North of Higson Steps (Ancient grassland)
- Burton Hall (TBC following further ecological survey).
Note: We have to be selective about the areas we choose rather than just saying “everything”. Not selecting an area does not mean it will be developed. It could have other protections already (such as Whitton Park) or simply be unsuitable for other reasons.
2: Potential Habitat Improvements
There is significant potential for habitat improvements. Detail is provided under each specific habitat area in the report but these broadly consist of working with landowners to re-introduce annual mowing or grazing animals to maintain key grassland areas. Some areas would also benefit from more regular cutting back of brambles, which could be organised by the community.
Other potential improvements include:
- The reinstatement of the Hobblers Hole ephemeral pond
- Providing better access to the Newt Hollow pond to allow educational use.
3: Community Projects
A number of different ideas have been submitted by residents which need detailed discussion as well as support from landowners and the community. These include:
- Introducing a “community trail” which would link a number of habitat areas together (grassland and woodland).
- Variants suggested include: jogging / cycling / nature / woodland trails
- Providing extra habitats (eg bird/bat boxes) in some locations
- Establishing a footpath suitable for all year use from Albion Crescent to Whitton Park and ensuring long term viability of footpath to Yarborough Road
- Upgrading the play equipment at Whitton Park
- Considering the viability of community solar panels on land not planned for other uses
At the moment these are just potential ideas. To progress them to a viable project will need much more detail, to answer questions like:
- what exactly the project involves
- who would implement the project
- who would it benefit
- how would it be maintained over 20 years
- how much is it likely to cost to implement and maintain
Please send you views and feedback to NPAG@long-leys.org .
Background to Neighbourhood Plan
This particular activity is part of the Neighbourhood Planning project for Long Leys and supports the following focus area:
- Better care and protection for green spaces and wildlife
The Long Leys Neighbourhood Plan is being developed by LLRA and community volunteers, along with specialist support from a grant funded planning consultant and other specialist consultants. The overall project is being managed, on behalf of LLRA, by the Neighbourhood Planning Action Group (NPAG). If you would like to volunteer to help with any of the Neighbourhood Plan activity, which is 100% community led and controlled, then email us at NPAG@long-leys.org. Volunteers willingly give up their time to benefit the whole Long Leys community. See long-leys.org/neighbourhood-plan/ for more details on the project.