The Ecological Appraisal commissioned by Southwark and carried out by LUC in April 2014 says:
The rough grassland and scrub habitats recorded within the Site were identified as being suitable to support common and widespread reptile species (particularly slow worm and common lizard).
The mosaic of grassland and scrub provides a high degree of structural variety, creating numerous opportunities for reptiles to bask and shelter. These habitat types are also likely to support an abundance of potential food sources for reptiles including invertebrates.
The Site is also bounded by residential dwellings to the west and north which could also provide suitable habitat especially for slow worm, a species often found in more urban sites.
However, the Site is also subject to high levels of public access including high numbers of dog walkers which would be likely to reduce its long-term suitability to support reptile populations.
The appraisal found evidence of hedgehogs on each of the five nights of the survey. It said:
The same terrestrial habitats described above (grassland and scrub) provide similar foraging and sheltering opportunities for hedgehog. These habitat types are also likely to support an
abundance of key food sources for hedgehog including invertebrates such as beetles, worms,
slugs, millipedes and caterpillars.
The Appraisal stated:
The Site offers suitable foraging habitat for bats, as well as potential flight corridors for bats
commuting between any nearby roosts and other foraging areas, while the tree lines around the Site boundary provide a suitable wildlife corridor to the wider landscape including a small area of woodland to the north-west, a well vegetated railway line to the south and also nearby gardens and parks. [...] the trees along the southern boundary and eastern boundaries, particularly Lombardy poplars, were noted to support features which may be suitable to support a roost [...] Other mature trees within the Site may support similar features.
A Bat Walk organised by the Friends of Dog Kennel Hill Wood in 2012 recorded 3 kinds of bats - here's an extract from the report:
[...]it was on the Green Dale path that we struck gold… lots and lots of bats flying around, eating and making a terrible (inaudible) racket. Everyone was hooked and we continued our walk along the path that runs along the bottom of the astro turf pitch. Again lots of bats (3 kinds: common pipstrelle, soprano pipstrelle and noctules – we think). Interestingly all bat activity stopped when we passed the floodlights of the astro turf football pitch. It seems as if the lights were too strong and they prefer the orange glow of a streetlight.
The LUC survey recorded Common frog on four occasions. LUC note:
The Site offers suitable terrestrial habitat to support common amphibians, however, there are currently no ponds or waterbodies on Site for breeding. It is possible that the surrounding residential gardens support ponds used by breeding amphibians which then also use the terrestrial habitats on the Site.
The mature trees and dense scrub habitats within the site provide suitable nesting habitat for a variety of common garden and woodland bird species. Grassland areas would be highly unlikely to support ground nesting species due to the high levels of disturbance from dog walkers.
A Friends of Dog Kennel Hill Wood Spring Walk in May 2014 recorded:
- song thrush
- house sparrow
- green veined butterfly
And in April 2013 noted:
- house sparrows
- chiff chaff
- mistle thrush
- green woodpecker
The diversity of habitats within the Site including ‘edge’ habitat provides optimum foraging and sheltering opportunities for a range of invertebrate species. An abundance of slugs, woodlouse, ants and ground beetles were recorded under the artificial refugia during the reptile surveys. Ant hills were recorded on Site predominantly within the rough grassland in the north-east of the Site. Ant hills are indicative of long established and/or infrequently managed grasslands.
The site is likely to support a diverse assemblage of breeding and foraging birds, bats and invertebrates, in particular given the relatively unmanaged condition of the habitats and shelter provided by dense scrub around the site boundary.