A full ecological plan is available from the secretary however we have shown below the nature conservation highlights.
‘NATURE CONSERVATION HIGHLIGHTS
The golf course sits well within the surrounding countryside, with strong connectivity being provided by the adjacent railway line running along the 11th and 13th hole. The railway will assist migration of birds and a wide diversity of wildlife from wild flowers through to birds. Similar, albeit shorter ecological corridors exist on the golf course and exist as boundary hedges, woodland margins and the extensive grassland rough. Such corridors are vital in aiding species movement and dispersal On the golf course they also act as important features with respect of play.
The air field right of the 3rd and 4th holes provides an extension of the golf course grassland habitat, potentially encouraging ground nesting birds such as skylark (Alauda arvensis) and meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis) which are adverse to trees and will not nest within close proximity to them. Developing a stronger grassland fringe along the perimeter of the air field mirroring this on the golf course should help considerably in encouraging this species to nest.
The woodland habitat on the golf course is considerable. There are several quite large blocks which provide ideal opportunities for more secretive and specialist bird species. The woodlands along most holes provide quite a high extent of woodland margin (compared to the extent of woodland centre) which has been shown to be generally more productive certainly for birds than the darker and more shaded woodland centre. Both however are important, the woodland centre will help to conserve more specialist, secretive bird species such as woodcock whereas the woodland fringe habitat will support smaller passerines each tending to specialise within the different canopy layers provided. Indeed it is the structural diversity within any woodland that is so important for birds whilst some will prefer the lower understory, others are dependent upon the higher canopy layers. A number of the woodlands do support very good structural diversity this being largely provided by the ages of the different trees and by the variation in species composition (each tree maturing at different periods). This is key to the longer-term success of the more natural woodland blocks which could be referred to here as the “ecological woodlands”. The amenity woodlands would be those narrower copses where grass tends to be dominant through the ground layer. These areas, managed for golf, tend to be poorer in species diversity and generally support less of an age structure. Nevertheless these areas do provide important corridor habitat allowing birds and invertebrates to move through the course.
The grassland (seeding) rough running with each hole provides for a great diversity of insects including day and evening flying moths, damsel flies, grasshoppers and flies all of which are taken by birds and even by bats. Bats will navigate along the tree line benefitting from the diversity of invertebrates within the grassland. Bats are also heavily dependent upon the standing dead wood resource which in places is quite strong at Denham. The left of the 7th approach for example and right of the 11th carry support large standing decaying oaks (Quercus agg.) which provide crevices and holes where bats can roost or hibernate.
Those dead trees within the vicinity of the water courses on the 7th hole provide ideal roosting opportunities for Daubenton’s (Myotis daubentoni) bat which prefers hunting over the water environment.
The water features at Denham are largely concentrated to the left of the 7th, back of 8th green and left of the 17th, together with the associated open ditches are extremely important. The open ditches crossing the fairways provide drinking water for small birds such as goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), blackbird (Turdus merula), jay (Garrulus glandarius) (all of which were noted here at the time of the visit). The margin around the water courses supports diverse vegetation including the more aquatic species such as bulrush (Typha latifolia), yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus), lesser spearwort and the white and yellow water lilies (Nuphar lutea). The drier habitat banks and collars support species including greater burnet saxifrage (Pimpinella major) and greater willow herb, these giving way to the drier grassland species including lesser stitchwort (Stellaria graminea) and heath bedstraw (Galium saxatile).
In summary the golf course with its diverse range of habitats will contribute markedly to the nature conserve value but the wildlife within the area this becomes increasingly important given the extent of progressive urbanisation that is occurring in the close proximity of the golf course to the capital.’