Wildlife and green spaces
NTU's estate comprises over 240 hectares of land across our four campuses, ranging from city centre to farmland. These different land types are valuable assets to the University, community and natural world.
Almost twenty years ago, a pair of breeding Peregrine Falcons chose a window ledge of level 9 on NTU’s Newton building as their nesting site. These beautiful birds of prey are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, listed as Schedule 1 species.
NTU in partnership with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust have had the pleasure of sharing the Falcon’s journey through both successful and challenging breeding seasons. Our records show that they have successfully raised almost forty chicks and since Falcon Cam was launched in 2012, people across the world have been able to observe, learn and share this journey in nature.
You can watch their day to day behaviour via our very own falcon webcam.
We accept donations to help fund two birds of prey research projects taking place here at NTU as well as towards our project partners Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
Falcon breeding season 2022
Two Peregrine Falcon Chicks have hatched on our Newton Building!
Our two current resident Peregrine Falcons, Archie and P9, have welcomed two chicks this year to their nest which resides on NTU’s Newton Building. In partnership with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, a nest cam has enabled viewers to watch live from the first of four eggs being laid on March 24th following the progress of the new arrivals.
After incubation of four weeks, the first of the eggs hatched on 3rd May at 7am, this was shortly followed by a second egg hatching on the 4th May at 4pm. Whilst there has been no sign of the further two eggs hatching, the two chicks are thriving and both parents can be seen offering regular feeds to the young.
From nest sites such as that on our Newton building, peregrines can reach over 200 miles an hour while swooping down on their prey, making it the fastest bird in the world.
Regular viewers of the falcon livestream will have seen a more stable year in the nest after last year’s loss of our previous resident female Mrs P and the introduction of P9. Both parents have settled in to their roles and have been taking turns to incubate and feed and can be seen swapping shifts in the nest.
Be sure to catch all the action on our falcon livestream accessed from the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Website Peregrine Nest Cam | Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
As with every year we pass on our thanks to all NTU members of staff involved in this work as well as the team at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
Newton and Arkwright Green Roof
Newton and Arkwright has one of the region’s largest green roofs with 13 varieties of sedum covering an area of approximately 2,500m2. Not only does this array of flowering plants brighten up the view from the second floor upwards, it also plays an important role in attracting a wide range of insect species to the city centre including bumblebees, butterflies, ladybirds and grasshoppers. Bird species that can be found include blackbirds, song thrushes, wrens, robins and even rare black redstarts.
Greening the City Campus
We asked students and staff what's important to you about the environment in which you study and work. You told us that you would like more green space and gardens.
The creation of more green space will also help us enhance the biodiversity of our university environment.
Living green wall
We installed our first living green wall as part of the University Hall development at our City Campus.
This eye-catching feature of the building provides an additional habitat for city centre wildlife as well as year-round colour.
Green walls assist in improving local air quality by removing impurities, while naturally absorbing and retaining heat – reducing the need for air conditioning and therefore reducing energy costs.
The wall utilises a panel-and-pockets system, meaning that rectangular polystyrene panels with vacuum formed 'pots' are hung on rails attached to the building's façade. The rails are irrigated, and panels have capillary matting at the back that draws up the water. A solenoid valve ensures water is released as needed.
Species planted include: ornamental grasses, campanula and euonymus.
Boots Roof Garden
Boots Roof Garden offers new space for students and staff to relax, socialise and study in. Accessed through the top floor of Boots Library, the garden has Wi-Fi access, lots of seating and some covered areas to shelter you from the elements.
Green roofs are a fantastic way to improve building efficiency, reduce flood risk and provide a tranquil environment for people and wildlife. Your new green roof on Boots Library does all of that using recycled and sustainable materials throughout.
To help protect and enhance biodiversity on the City Campus, the planting scheme in the garden includes a range of plants to attract a variety of wildlife species.
The redevelopment of Dryden Corner, near our Bonington building, has turned a dark and unloved plot of land into a bright and airy space in which to stop off and enjoy lunch, or catch some sunshine between lectures.
Designed by NTU alumna Jackie Setchfield, the corner garden features the rill, a relaxing water feature, and plenty of seating made from sustainably sourced wood.
The Sustainability Team are working on further Greening the City projects, so look out for more improvements to a green space near you.
Confetti Roof Garden
A green roof has been included on the new Confetti building which will help support city centre biodiversity. Integrated swift boxes have been incorporated into the buildings brick work and future for ground level landscaping are in discussion.
Clifton Campus is located approximately four miles south of Nottingham city centre on the outskirts of Clifton Village. It comprises 32 hectares of land in an enclosed campus environment.
It may not be immediately obvious Clifton Campus has a lot of green space within its 32 hectares for our students, staff and visitors to enjoy.
A Green Zone has been introduced to protect Clifton's green spaces at the heart of the Campus.
Clifton Nature Trail
A series of information boards have been installed to guide students, staff and the public around the Clifton Nature Trail. These are filled with knowledge about Clifton Campus and its surroundings including its biodiversity, history and community activities carried out on campus.
If you're planning to pay a visit, start at the observatory and make your way around the trail directed by the information boards. Each one has a different theme with useful information to help you identify the wildlife around you. Use the QR code on each board to bring you back to this web page where you can use the following links to enhance your experience of the trail:
- Wild About Gardens - a partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society and the Wildlife Trusts providing guidance on identifying trees, plants and wildlife.
- RSPB Bird Identifier and Bird Song Generator – if you see or hear any birds while walking around campus and you're not sure what it is, this website can help! The site is packed full of information on birds and wildlife as well as things to do in your local area.
- The Woodland Trust – this website gives an insight into why woodlands and green space are so important, what is happening to protect trees in the UK and how you too can become involved.
- Wildlife in the City – this local project encourages people to get out and about and discover the wildlife and nature on your doorstep. They have a dedicated section all about wild places and green spaces in Clifton and how you can find out more about wildlife in the city.
- Established in the 2014/15 academic year, our Foodshare project is located in the gardens of Peverell Halls. A joint venture between NTU, UPP Ltd, NTSU and Nourish Associates, it is designed to teach NTU students and staff about growing their own food in an environmentally friendly manner.
- Staff and student volunteers can try the produce as they harvest and take some home. At least half is donated to local charities for their use within the local community. Sessions run every Wednesday during term-time 1 – 3 pm and everyone is welcome to come and have a go under the supervision of a professional gardener. Staff can use their allocated volunteering hours at the allotment and students can count their time spent volunteering towards their HEAR.
- After a break from students during the Coronavirus lockdown, student volunteers were welcomed back to allotment in 20/21 and have since helped provided food to Guru Nanak's Mission and Crocus Cafe. Some Forest Schools and degree courses also make use of the allotment.
- Brackenhurst Campus is a beautiful 200-hectare estate comprising formal gardens, farmland and woodland. Situated on the outskirts of the village of Southwell, it is set around a grand country house, which originally dates back to 1828.
- A vast array of wildlife co-exists with our staff and students making it an ideal outdoor classroom. You'll find species and habitats such as the great crested newt, bats, birds, badgers, hares, ancient hedgerows, the Victorian Walled Garden (a listed Heritage site), and Sheepwalk's Pond and Wildlife Hide (Wetland Conservation Area).
- Webcams on campus enable the monitoring of such species and habitats bringing them to those of us not so lucky to work out there all year round.
The School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences (ARES) has developed a series of walks around the estate. The walks are designed to open up the estate to NTU staff and students as well as members of the public, encouraging all to share its special features. Interpretation boards have been provided at key points around the estate and a number of suggested routes have been identified if visitors have a particular interest in certain features or wildlife.
The Flower Pod is a beautiful garden on campus run by Reach, a charity supporting people with learning disabilities in Nottinghamshire. It is a social enterprise that provides day care and support to adults with learning disabilities as well as selling flowers. The project was established in 2012 and continues to grow. NTU staff and students can volunteer at the Flower Pod.
The NTU animal unit houses over 200 animals from 61 species, providing the ideal environment for the study of companion animals, reptiles, birds, fish and other small animals.
Hedgehog Friendly Campus
Hedgehog numbers have declined by up to 50% over the last 20 years. The British Hedgehog has been officially declared vulnerable to extinction and features on the IUCN Red listed species. In 2020 NTU made a commitment to make further improvements across the estate to help the UK’s Hedgehog population as part of the Hedgehog Friendly Campus initiative. In February 2021, NTU achieved a Bronze Award from the ‘Hedgehog Friendly Campus’ and in January 2022 we’ve achieved the Silver Award for Brackenhurst, Clifton, and City Campus!
A huge thank you to students, staff, and volunteers across the university who supported this work. From April 2022 NTU will be working towards Gold accreditation, if you’d like to be involved in this change making project please email the team.
Achievements through HFC during 2021 have included:
- Hedgehog surveys completed twice during the year at all three campuses with a small population increase found at Brackenhurst.
- Increased areas of campus green space left to ‘rewild’ helping to support hedgehogs and other local biodiversity that support hedgehogs survival.
- Pond audits across the estate completed and ponds with steep sides and no means of escape for wildlife now have stepping stones added as a means of escape.
- Having NTU’s very own Lizzie Carr celebrate our HFC success!
- Introducing log piles to our City campus for the first time and adding to those at Clifton and Brackenhurst
Hedgehog Cam. Credit: Richard Yarnell.
Hedgehog Garden Surveys
Following Hedgehog Awareness Week 2020, staff and students were invited to take part in their very own hedgehog garden survey! After completing a virtual training webinar demonstrating how to build your own hedgehog survey tunnel, a group of staff and student volunteers surveyed their gardens for five consecutive nights across various locations in the UK including Nottinghamshire, Manchester, Leicestershire, East Sussex, Cambridgeshire and Conwy, Wales - the results were fascinating!
Night time garden visitors included squirrels, rabbits, mice, rats, cats and hedgehogs! One of NTU’s students who took part managed to trace the hedgehog prints back to a hedgehog house she’d put in her garden and she was delighted to see it has become the home of a nesting female hedgehog. Since discovering that the hedgehog house is occupied, cameras have been located nearby, capturing amazing footage of a very busy hedgehog!
In addition, images taken from night-time cameras at Brackenhurst campus recorded Foxes, Badgers and Hedgehogs!
There are plenty of opportunities for NTU students and staff to become involved in the HFC via NTU Green Rewards.
Share your wildlife sightings and ideas
NTU registered as a Tree Charter Branch to show our commitment to supporting the principles of the Charter, which aims to secure the future of trees for wildlife and for people. Its launch marks 800 years since the 1217 Charter of the Forest and draws on tree stories shared by over 600,000 people. Individuals can sign here - a tree is planted for each signature! We recently planted new woodlands on Brackenhurst campus, you can read a blog post about it here
NTU continues to lead and participate in a range of tree planting events in pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal 15, Life on Land. Since 2016, we've planted 15,000 trees on our campuses and around the city of Nottingham. Our planting days bring together students, staff and members of the public to create a cultural exchange while we improve the environment of our city. Find out more information here.