We pride ourselves on having a green oasis within a city centre campus setting and have implemented an edible campus strategy for a number of years. Guided by our Biodiversity Action Plan, we have a number of fruit trees and bushes including plum, pear and apple trees, gooseberry, redcurrant and raspberry bushes on the outskirts of our campus. We have embedded wildlife-friendly gardening techniques in the way we look after our grounds, protecting what is important and identifying suitable areas to create new habitats for pollinators and small mammals. Development of the University has to take nature into account, to deliver an overall increase in biodiversity. There is a medicinal herb garden located near the Peace Garden by Horton A building and we are home to over 200,000 honey bees, a hedgehog friendly campus and awarded Green Flags.
In July 2010 we took steps to help improve the population of bees by installing two beehives with 30,000 honeybees on campus in a purpose-built apiary by Shearbridge Car Park.
Volunteer beekeepers made up from staff and students help to look after the bees in their spare time, conducting regular inspections in the summer months and disease prevention measures in the winter months. They also help to extract and bottle any honey that is harvested after leaving plenty on the hives to last them through winter.
We now maintain four hives with a total population of around 200,000 bees.
A new hedgehog highway was created in 2022 at the top of the Amphitheatre to provide a sheltered route through the campus, benefiting not only hedgehogs but also other wildlife species. This was created as part of our Hedgehog Friendly Campus (external) initiative, for which we have received a bronze accreditation.
The university have participated in the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Award and in 2021 achieved the Bronze Award, and working through 2022 towards the Silver Award.
Rainwater harvesting is utilised for toilet flushing in the Bright Building and Student Central which helps to utilise free rainwater instead of potable water. We consider the addition of rainwater harvesting in construction and refurbishment projects as part of our sustainable construction specification.
Rainwater harvesting is also utilised on campus externally, where rainwater is collected for watering our student allotment plots on the outskirts of Shearbridge car park.
We have adopted an edible campus approach to our grounds which includes the planting of fruit trees and bushes, herbs and fruit and vegetables. The campus houses two distinct fruit tree orchards, outside Student Central building, and alongside our multipurpose sports pitches at the top off the amphitheatre. We also have a medicinal herb garden, which is located outside the Horton A building, which includes herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, chives, and mint. We encourage our staff, students and visitors to pick and enjoy these edible species.
University replaced a large poor grassed area with wildflower meadows in and around the Shearbridge car park. It enhanced the colour and provided fantastic spaces for pollinators.
No mow areas
In 2021, University left a steep grass bank as a no mow area to provide space for pollinators and small mammals. Looking at the positive impacts further areas of steep grass are left in 2022 to expand the grass banks.