We are the Local Environment Group for the area around Prestwood in Buckinghamshire, including Great Missenden,
The Hampdens, The Kingshills, North Dean and Speen
We aim to protect and enhance the quality of the natural environment through the involvement of local people.
Ubiqitous, extremely evident, and with a population of about 8,000 across the area, Homo sapiens may still not be the commonest mammal around, even if it is the largest and certainly the most bumptious. This honour probably goes to one of the small rodents, the Wood Mouse, Field Vole or Bank Vole, or even to the insectivorous Common Shrew. Their quiet unobtrusive behaviour obscures the fact that they are really very common. Larger mammals that are still quite common are often regarded as pests – the Fox, introduced Grey Squirrel and Muntjac, and Rabbit. Badgers are also increasing their populations, if one goes by the expansions of their setts, and their excavations are not popular with farmers when they or their cows may easily break their legs stumbling into them. While foxes are regularly shot (with no obvious effect on their numbers), badgers are of course protected, although there has been the occasional illegal killing by crossbow enthusiasts.
The largest of our regular mammals is the Roe Deer, increasingly populous in the woods, where they damage young tree-growth. The Mole, or at least his heaps, is evident across many grasslands, although he is not a major pest. The Hedgehog has probably declined somewhat, at least that is most people’s impression, and they are not seen on roads in their familiar flattened pose as much as formerly, despite increases in traffic. The Weasel and Stoat that were much more frequent in the past, preying on pheasant farms and poultry runs, are still around, although the stoat seems to have particularly declined. The Polecat, on the other hand (or polecat-ferret hybrids which are difficult to distinguish) has returned and is now breeding locally in several places. These were probably common alongside the other mustelids in earlier centuries, although the old Polecat Inn in Prestwood was really named after the Polliket family that once ran it and cannot be taken as evidence of the animal’s presence.
Harvest mice are seldom seen, but are certainly present, with one definite sighting at the edge of Monkton Wood. Dormice have occasionally been reported, even once sheltering in a garden bird-box, but there seems to be no habitat currently that would meet its precise requirements because of the lack of management of woods and disappearance of coppice. The Fat Dormouse, on the other hand, Glis glis, that escaped from near Tring, is now a regular resident of both the countryside and those houses where it can gain entry to the loft space, once there performing loud wild war-dances through all hours of the night. It is, however, pleasant to be able to report on the increased evidence of Brown Hares, now often seen in the Hampden Bottom area and Warren Wood.
Finally, there are the bats. These are difficult to identify or study, but certainly Common Pipistrelle is quite common, and others reported include Soprano Pipistrelle, Common Long-eared, Noctule, Serotine, Daubenton’s and Natterer’s. There do not seem to be the old standing trees with holes to attract anything of more note, and it is difficult to establish how common they really are.
32 different species have been recorded in our area in recent times.
|Activities for Children|
|Publicity & Liaison|
|Walks and Visits|
|Junior Photo Competition|
|Great Missenden Library|
|Angling Spring Wood|
|Hedges and Special Trees Project|
|Kiln Common Orchard|
|Prestwood Nature Reserve|
|Boug's Meadow History|
|Why no car park at Boug's Meadow|
|Butterfly Transect Route|
|Kiln Common Orchard Planting Plan|
|Ecological Flora of the Central Chilterns|
|Flowering Plants: Arable Land|
|Flowering Plants: Disturbed Land|
|Flowering Plants: Meadows|
|Flowering Plants: Ponds|
|Flowering Plants: Roadsides|
|Flowering Plants: Woodlands & Hedgerows|
|Grasses, Sedges & Rushes|
|Bees and Wasps|
|Mosses & Liverworts|
|Ancient Trees & Parkland|
|Heathland & Acid Grassland|
|Collings Hanger Pond|
|Kiln Corner Pond|