Tulgey Woods Sanctuary CIC is a community interest company that owns and manages nearly 10 acres of mixed woodland in the heart of Plymouth. It was founded by husband and wife Sid and Sam Remmer, who bought the land to preserve the wildlife and protect it from development. The woods are home to a variety of plants and animals, some of which are quite rare or unusual.
The sanctuary aims to enhance the biodiversity and resilience of the woodland ecosystem by creating habitats, planting native species, reducing fires and vandalism, and providing nest boxes and brash piles. It also seeks to promote the health and wellbeing of the local community by making the woods accessible and inviting for visitors. The sanctuary organises events, workshops, volunteer opportunities, and educational programmes to raise awareness and appreciation of nature.
One of the unique features of Tulgey Woods is the diversity of fungi that can be found there. In 2017, the sanctuary discovered a bright orange fungus on some rotting wood. They contacted Dr David Farley from the Devon Fungus Group and the British Mycological Society of Exeter University. He identified it as Favolaschia calocera, also known as orange ping-pong bat fungus. This fungus was first seen in the UK in 2012 and may have come from imported wood or bark. It only grows on dead wood and does not harm native species.
Another unusual discovery was made in 2014, when the sanctuary found a dead slow worm that was being eaten by small, black creatures that looked like leeches.
In 2019, they sent some samples to Dr Hugh Jones, Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum in London. He confirmed that they were Australian flatworms of the species Australopacifica atrata. This rare species is abundant in Tulgey Woods. The tiny flatworms feed on dead and decaying matter.
In 2019, they also found a small golden beetle inside some fox dung. They contacted Darren J. Mann, Head of Life Collections at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. He identified it as a dung beetle, Onthophagus paleonthophagus. This type of dung beetle likes canine faeces.
Apart from these uncommon species, Tulgey Woods also hosts plenty of the UK’s favourites. They often see flocks of goldfinches and dunnocks in the woods. They also have badgers, foxes, squirrels, hedgehogs, bats, owls, woodpeckers, butterflies, bees, and many more.
Tulgey Woods Sanctuary CIC is not only a haven for wildlife, but also a source of benefits for people. Woodlands provide many social benefits such as mental and physical health, cultural heritage, recreation, education, and community cohesion. Woodlands can help reduce stress, improve mood, lower blood pressure, boost immunity, increase physical activity, enhance creativity, foster learning, and strengthen social ties. Woodlands also offer environmental benefits such as carbon sequestration, air quality improvement, water regulation, soil conservation, noise reduction, and climate change mitigation.
The sanctuary is currently working on a project to create a larger pond with reeds and wildlife-friendly plants in the woods. The pond will provide a new habitat for aquatic species and attract more birds and insects. The pond will also be powered by renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines. The surplus energy will be used to pump water to a tank that can store it for later use or release it to generate electricity. The electricity will also power wifi-connected wildlife cameras that will stream live images online for education and interest.
The sanctuary hopes that this project will increase the ecological value and resilience of the woodland system as well as the wellbeing and engagement of the visitors. The project is funded by grants and donations from various sources.
Tulgey Woods Sanctuary CIC is an inspiring example of how people can make a positive difference for nature and themselves by owning and managing woodland. The sanctuary welcomes anyone who wants to visit or support their work.
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