“Tawny owls like height, so the tip of the arch is the perfect place”

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“Tawny owls like height, so the tip of the arch is the perfect place” explained Richard as we surveyed the space and assessed the needs of the wildlife that flourishes in the woodland around our site. His recommendation was one Tawny Owl box, five blue-tit boxes and four Robin boxes; the latter types positioned in the nooks and crannies beneath tumbling ivy.

We had learned about Richard’s project via a member of our staff. Richard runs Project Nestbox a community project that seeks to educate and engage young people in wildlife, alongside building and erecting bird boxes in the South Wales valleys. It was a perfect fit; a local community wildlife project that offers help and advice to those who seek it, allied to our desire to build a sustainable bio-diverse garden that would maximise a unique part of our site. Richard’s advice was absolutely essential. There is little point in building boxes or perches for Red Kite or Nightingale if you have little chance of attracting them. Owls are a different matter entirely and staff have often heard the familiar hoot of a Tawny as dusk descends. We also needed to know how and where to site the boxes. High? Low? Richard sorted the dilemma with ladder and drill.

So far we have added to our garden a bee hive, insect hotels, a wood pile, a pond – with frog spawn gifted by another member of the team - wildflower planters, a water butt and as the project matures we have plans for more. For wildlife and staff alike, this forgotten corner of the Capital site is gradually turning into a tranquil, bio-diverse oasis.

Note: Project Nestbox is based in Pontypool and can be contacted via their website: We highly recommend Richard and his team of volunteers for wildlife help and advice.

Extra Note: We are also donating pre-coated steel plates – pre-sheared and drilled as part of a training exercise for our apprentice engineers – to protect the entrance to Richard’s bird boxes from predatory attention. For an article and pictures on this unique use of our product, watch this space!

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