Wild Stroud - by Ron Allen (this page is a work in progress)
We are a small parish but within our boundary (Figure 1) we have a range of wildlife habitats and wildlife that make this area special to us. Mary and I moved to Stroud in 1980 and, during 43 years, we have kept an eye out for our local fauna and flora. Photographs of our wildlife have been on various versions of the village websites and, most recently, my blog on this village hall website site.
Given the ‘Wild Isles’ programme on BBC 1 at the time of writing this (April 2023), it seemed appropriate to draw together what we know of our local wildlife.
Habitats are places where our wildlife lives in distinct communities of plants and animals and the aerial photograph in Figure 1 shows the different land types in the parish. I have set out the history of the parish on the maps and descriptions in the history pages on this website: The History of Stroud – Stroud Village Hall.
The eastern part of the parish is mainly cultivated arable land with a wonderful network of often ancient tree-lined hedgerows and with some grassland along the Criddell Stream (which stream forms our southern boundary) with New Buildings Farm and the farm buildings and associated businesses.
The western part of the parish is mainly sheep-grazed permanent pasture at New Buildings Farm and Rothercombe Farm and this part also contains: the main areas of housing along Ramsdean Road, North Stroud Lane and Willowdale; the garage and workshops on Winchester Road; the Seven Stars public house and pond; our new village hall and adjacent housing at Stroudfields; the school and adjacent village playground, Stroud village green and some small areas of secondary woodland. A small village eastern outlier occurs in the north along Winchester Road, Finchmead Lane and part of Stroud End. And our one area of ancient woodland is in the south of this area.
Figure 2 is my map of where to see wildlife in the parish and shows Furzefield Copse in the south and our village green in the north and the network of public footpaths that pass through much of the parish and provide opportunities to see much of our wildlife.
Putting all this together our main habitats include:
- Arable farmland
- Hay meadow on the village green
- Hedgerows, often tree-lined
- Ancient and some secondary woodland
- Watercourses, ponds and springs and
- Housing and associated gardens.
Our most biodiverse habitats are probably the areas of housing and gardens, the village green, and the hedgerow network.
Our parish habitats support a wonderful range of wild creatures from mammals through birds, reptiles and amphibians, to a myriad of insects, spiders and other invertebrates.