More than just a garden
The strange looking earthwork you see by the Birch Grove is a custom made hibernation mound or hibernaculum for our growing reptile population. Because of the suitability of the habitat here this land is used as a relocation site for reptiles rescued from areas where their habitat is threatened by such things as road schemes and housing developments.
Common lizards, slow worms (which are also lizards), grass snakes and toads all thrive here. Being cold-blooded animals reptiles need places to warm up in the heat of the sun in order for them to become active and hunt for food. They will congregate under heat conducting materials such as sheets of corrugated tin or black plastic. Lizards in particular will also spend much time basking on rocks, logs and banks, but need somewhere close by to shelter if danger threatens. The natural crevices between logs are ideal for this.
In winter they hibernate underground. Snakes and slow worms will burrow into compost heaps but lizards, unable to dig, will make use of holes created by other animals such as mice and voles, or even rabbits.The hibernaculum provides an artificially created network of tunnels for hibernation, combined with basking sites on the outside in the form of the bank, logs and rocks. The logs provide crevices for shelter and all the tunnel entrances are positioned within easy darting distance of the logs.