Working with nature

Delivery of the route has been designed to ensure a net gain to biodiversity, through a range of measures set out below. To create the width that the route needs to accommodate equestrians, walkers and cyclists, there is an impact on the existing vegetation and the design work has working in the larger trees and more wildlife-rich hedgerows to minimise the impact.
Flowers on Mere Way
Pond on Mere Way route

Where there is tree loss, double the number of trees and woodland area will be planted, including larger trees to create instant impact and ensure a more natural evolving woodland. Linear hedgerow will be replaced but with a stronger species mix to support greater biodiversity. The approach includes:

  • Existing hedges will be buffered and enhanced through planting up gaps and strengthening the hedge structure and species mix. Hedges provide important nesting habitat for birds such as whitethroat and yellowhammer and will also provide sheltered wildlife corridors through the area for key species such as badger and brown hare.
  • New tree planting will be provided along the route and within the retained hedgerows to include a range of native species and mix of age classes.
  • In the new route crossing farmland, an area alongside the route will create a grass and scrub mosaic which work with the field edge to create species-rich grassland areas that support flowering plants, and in turn important invertebrates such as butterflies and moths.
  • Enhanced field margins will also provide a range of habitats for farmland bird species in the area such as yellowhammer, skylark, grey partridge and meadow pipit, providing both foraging and nesting opportunities.
  • The western approach to the bridge crossing the A10 will be designed to minimise potential impacts on existing field boundary features, whilst the earthworks of the bridge landing will be treated as an extension of the grass and scrub mosaic, with additional new native and climate change resilient tree species.
  • Within the Waterbeach Barracks and Airfield site, the eastern approach to the bridge crossing the A10 will form a continuation of the habitat mosaic established for the Mere Way route, which in turn will connect to the wider green infrastructure of the development itself.

As the design develops detailed plans will follow to illustrate the hedgerow enhancements, new tree locations/species to be planted and the plant mixes for the species-rich grassland areas.