Protecting and boosting the local eco-system – how a local collaboration at Archers Wood is protecting against climate change
As homebuilders, we strive to deliver the very best product possible to our customers – homes in great areas with excellent transport links and local amenities, well-designed homes in beautiful surroundings, homes with thoughtful layouts to suit modern life, homes filled with the latest features that make life comfortable and cost-effective, and most importantly, homes that fit seamlessly within a welcoming community.
We also have another very important priority – and that’s to build sustainable developments that respect their natural surroundings. Like everyone else, we are acutely aware of the challenges that the world is currently facing thanks to climate change, and we want to do our part in protecting the environment.
In the past, we have paid much attention to the local flora and fauna, for example, in our Marianella development, we strived to protect the existing conifers and evergreen oaks planted on the site in Georgian and Victorian era, and planting more to replace those that were coming to the end of their natural life.
With our latest development, Archers Wood in Delgany, Co Wicklow, we had an even bigger challenge, as the adjacent area known as Glen of the Downs is a Natura 2000 site. For this exciting project we had the opportuniity to closely collaborate with citizen scientist Eoin Llewellyn, who was working with a team on a plan for climate change and biodiverse stability in the Greystones/Delgany area, focusing in particular on the Three Trout Stream in Delgany.
"The area around Three Trout is rich in wildlife – we have an otter family, we have owls, five species of bat, foxes, badgers, deer"
“The Three Trout Stream is the only nature corridor in our area, and so is the main corridor for wildlife,” Eoin explains. “Canopy cover is being reduced at an alarming rate worldwide; at the same time all species are in decline and insect populations are in severe decline worldwide due to loss of tree and plant diversity in the first trophic level. The area around Three Trout is rich in wildlife – we have an otter family, we have owls, five species of bat, foxes, badgers, deer – as well as all the insects that are the supermarket of nature, the food for the birds and the bats. Without the area being protected and restored, these plants, animals and insects will not survive.
“The problem is that the stream is not properly designated. Even though this is the water source for Glen of the Downs, a Natura 2000 site, no one has correctly registered the Three Trout Stream.” Therefore, as a result, the area is not being protected and no official initiatives are in place to restore the fragile ecosystem around the stream.
Making a change
Keeping a close eye on development in the area, especially as Delgany and Greystones are much-sought-after residential locations for individuals and families, Eoin and his colleagues met with Cairn about their plans for Archers Wood.
Having also identified the environmental importance of the stream and its banks, Cairn decided to collaborate with Eoin and his colleagues, bringing local knowledge, pride and passion to the nature-friendly plan for the area. The result of this collaboration is a public walkway or green route along the stream to protect and enhance the natural life that thrive in the area. The pathway is raised in parts to avoid disrupting the stream and its natural inhabitants.
“Cairn were really amazing and really considered the plans. Now they’re planting 10,000 trees, building a raised walkway through the wetlands and protecting the meadow that’s in the first field.” says Eoin “This is following best practice, and we hope that this will become a prototype for other companies to follow.”