Crookham Park SANG Information Board

Suitable Accessible Natural Greenspace (SANG) is the name given to green space that is of a quality and type suitable to be used as mitigation to seek to reduce the recreational pressure on existing nature conservation designations within the local area that are identified as being vulnerable to recreational disturbance.  The Crookham Park SANG is provided by the developer [note to team: should we shall TW here?] to provide informal public open space for both new residents of Crookham Park and other local residents.

The Crookham Park SANG supports a wide range of habitats and associated species, including broad-leaved woodland, marshland, grassland, ponds, and hedgerows together with individual mature tree specimens. A diverse assemblage of flora and fauna is present within the Crookham Park SANG area and on any given day if you are lucky and patient you may spot some of the following:

Barn Owl, Tyto alba
Barn Owl Typo alba. With heart-shaped face, buff back and wings and pure white underparts, the Barn Owl is a distinctive and much-loved countryside bird. Barn Owl feeds on small rodents, especially voles and mice, and also on frogs and insects, which it locates using its excellent sense of hearing. It is usually active in the evening, early morning or at night, but in times of hard frost or snowfall, individuals may be forced to hunt for longer periods, and may be seen in the day. Barn Owl typically nests in tree holes, ruined buildings and farm buildings, hence the association with barns reflected by the common name.

Badger, Meles meles
Badger Meles meles. With its striking black and white striped head, Badger is one of Britain’s most instantly recognisable mammals. Although such a familiar species, few people have actually seen this elusive nocturnal mammal in its natural habitat. During the day Badgers are inactive, and rest in their setts, complex systems of underground tunnels with nests of dry grass, straw and dead leaves. Badgers are omnivorous; their main source of food is earthworms, of which they may eat several hundred a night. They also take other invertebrates, nuts, fruit, small vertebrates, bulbs and cereals. Badgers tend to live in social groups consisting of a number of adults and young. There is usually a dominant male (boar) and one breeding female (sow) in each group.

slow worm (Anguis fragilis)
Slow Worm Anguis fragilis. Being a legless lizard, the Slow Worm is often mistaken for a snake. However, there are certain features that separate the Slow Worm from snakes, including the presence of eyelids and ear opening.  Although this species is widespread, it is rather secretive. Slow Worm feed largely on slugs, snails and earthworms. The Slow Worm is ovoviviparous, and instead of laying eggs, the female gives birth to an average of eight live young between mid-August and mid-September.  This species is relatively long-lived, with one specimen known to have lived for over 50 years. As with other reptile species the skin of the Slow Worm is shed at intervals throughout its life.

Marsh Tit
Marsh Tit Poecile palustris. This is a small, mainly brown bird, with a shiny black cap, dark ‘bib’ and pale belly. In the UK its identification is made tricky by the very similar appearance of our race of willow tit. They’re so hard to identify that ornithologists didn’t realise there were two species until 1897! Marsh Tit feeds on insects and seeds.  Should they find a good supply – perhaps at a garden feeder – they may start to hoard seeds, burying and hiding them for a rainy day. Their hippocampus, the part of their brain which specialises in remembering things, is large, bigger than a Great Tit’s.

Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata ericetorum)
Spotted Heath Orchid Dactylorhiza maculata subsp ericetorum. With pale pink, lilac, white almost mauve flowers the Spotted Heath Orchid is a pretty flower, with a light scent.  The species is often present in groups with the flower spikes on average 5–15 centimetres tall, being pyramidal or oblong shaped.  Typically found within sunny places on lowlands or hills, they can be found in slightly damp meadows, but also in the undergrowth of dry forests, in areas with bushes and at the edges of streams.

Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus
Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus. Pipistrelle bats are active between March and November, hibernating during the colder winter months when food resources are scarce. They hunt and eat insects on the wing in open spaces between vegetation. A variety of insects are taken, including small moths, midges and lacewings. Mating generally takes place in autumn at mating roosts, females then congregate in maternity roosts between May and August. One young is usually produced between June and mid-July, which will start to fly around three weeks later. Pipistrelles bats roost in trees and under external features of buildings, such as hanging tiles and soffits. They feed along woodland edges, in open woodland, suburban gardens, marshes and over water. Hibernation occurs in crevices in buildings and trees as well as in bat boxes.

Grass snake (Natrix natrix) young moving his tongue
Grass Snake Natrix natrix. The Grass Snake is Britain’s largest terrestrial reptile. This snake is typically olive-green, brown or greyish in colour, with a variable row of black bars along the sides. As Grass Snake derives its body warmth from the environment, it has to bask in the sun after emerging in the morning in order to reach high enough body temperatures to be able to function efficiently and digest its prey. During winter, temperatures are too low, and the grass snake will find frost-free places such as deep leaf litter or rock piles in which to hibernate between October and March or April. The Grass Snake is an active predator of frogs, toads and newts, although fish, small mammals and young birds may also be taken. Prey is grabbed, then swallowed alive. This species is a good swimmer, and is able to stay submerged for over half an hour.

Great-spotted woodpecker, Dendrocopos major
Greater Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major. The Greater Spotted Woodpecker  is the most common and widespread of the British woodpeckers. It has black and white plumage, a prominent oval-shaped white patch on each wing, a red patch under the tail; males also have a red patch on the rear of the head. Juveniles can be identified by their red crown. The main call is a sharp ‘kick’, which may be repeated. During spring, it can be heard drumming; this sound is produced by beating the bill on a dead branch. The Great Spotted Woodpecker feeds on seeds, invertebrates, and occasionally bird eggs and nestlings.

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