Photos from Mark Saunders with whom copyright resides. Our thanks to Mark for the use of his photos.
The biodiversity of Whitewebbs Park is a treasure to be preserved. It is a product of the ancient woodland, the streams flowing through it, the open spaces and the way that much of the land has been left undisturbed for centuries. The golf course is nearly ninety years old and is far from being a barren waste of monoculture grass. There are old copses of trees, the old course of the New River and quarried out depressions that provide habitats for many animals. There is also the wetland pool created a few years ago as part of a drainage scheme that is home to some amazing dragonflies among other species.
The photos above show the wetland area just south of the King and Tinker, full of piles of rotting timber and pools of water, ideal homes for insects and amphibians. Trees throughout the woodland have been allowed to fall and rot naturally through the agency of age, fungi, moss and insects. The ancient oak trees have large holes in their trunks and cavities hollowed out by woodpeckers. Every tree is a home to insects and birds and in some with larger cavities there will be bats.
The streams contain freshwater mussels and attract many birds including egrets and kingfishers. The meadow areas which are gradually being replanted with trees by the crows and jays were rich in butterflies last year. While the ancient woodland is primarily oak and hornbeam there are many different species of tree along the streams. Willow in the less well drained area attracts the rare purple emperor butterfly.
Within the park there are many different habitats, hence the biodiversity. The balance can be upset by thoughtless development, lighting for sports facilities for example. Whitewebbs is a relatively dark area at night, away from roads and motorway lighting. This in itself is unusual in London. It is also part of the biodiversity corridor that links the parks and gardens of Enfield.
Photos of some of the animals that can be seen on the wildlife page of this website.