The Duchess has been keen to understand more about the estate’s wildlife and ecology, from the rich parkland to our thriving farms and woodlands. The more we know, the more we can help conserve these precious ecosystems, and improve them for the future.
We have begun collecting data on birds, insects, habitats and more. Check out the sections below to explore our discoveries and generous data collectors, or have a look at our habitat and species fact file for more. If you would like to get involved with data collection, please do get in touch with [email protected]
Converting sunlight into energy, plants are the foundation of all life on earth. Plants play the role of habitat and food for many species. They also stabilise our soil, sequester carbon and provide us with beautiful environments to explore. We are excited to announce that we have begun to record our plant life with the help of a knowledgeable team of botanists. We have found 25 plant species that are, scarce or interesting, such as the Marsh Pennywort or Night-flowering Catchfly. So far 18 sites have been discovered to be of high or moderate botanical interest.
Researchers: Geoffrey Hall (BSBI Vice-county Recorder), Steve Woodward, Russell Parry, Sue Dawson, Helen Ikin
With the help of the RSPB, BTO, volunteers from surrounding villages and even our own estate staff we have compiled a lengthy list of bird species spotted on the estate. This includes red-listed birds such as the Tree Sparrow and Yellowhammer. We are delighted that the Belvoir Lakes and Knipton Reservoir are sites of interest for the BTO Wetland Bird Survey, and are regularly contributing data about the various geese, ducks, grebes and gulls making Belvoir their home.
Researchers: Les Batty (BTO), RSPB
Insects are vital decomposers, pollinators and prey for birds, bats and other small mammals. Due to their vast number of ecosystem roles, the health of their populations is essential! We began recording moth populations over 3 years ago and are now expanding. We aim to also look at our dragonfly, damselfly, caddisfly and spider species. Just take a look at some of the gorgeous colours on these striking moths! Learn more about moths on our Moth Recording project page.
Researchers: Pete Leonard, Ian Merrill (British Dragonfly Society County Recorder)
Whilst scientific surveys are essential for understanding the environment and its trends, species spotted by regular folk like you and me are just as important! Dubbed ‘citizen science’, the recording of data by our groundsmen, foresters, visitors and helpful villagers can help us get a better idea of what is on the estate. This allows scientists and conservationists to better connect with the public over important issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss. We hope to have more opportunities for our visitors to take part in data collection soon!
Researchers: Everyone welcome!
As part of our data collection, we put on our wellies, jumped into some rivers and did some otter surveys too! We have at least one otter, with signs (i.e. poo!) at multiple locations. Before 2000 we had no records of otters so we are unsure why they have moved here. It could be due to habitat improvement at Belvoir, or perhaps a loss of suitable habitat elsewhere. Unfortunately, much ecological work in the UK is underfunded, so this will have to stay a mystery for now! In the meantime, we will do our best to ensure our habitat remains a viable place for otters and other small mammals to thrive. Take a look at our otter fact file for more info.