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Although Muntons is an industrial site, only about half of 45 acres of land is used for manufacturing. There are many areas that are not used for our core business of making malt but can be extremely valuable for wildlife. This includes two large areas of floodplain land adjacent to the river, one which is kept neat, tidy and ‘managed’ and another which is left almost entirely for nature to manage. As we are corporate members of Suffolk Wildlife Trust we were inspired to turn the ‘unused’ areas into wildlife walks for staff. We knew that there were some common fauna such as wood pigeons, squirrels but we also have much rarer inhabitants including Kingfishers and Little Egrets. There is also a wide variety of flora too with many of Britain’s native trees thriving in all areas of the site.
It occurred to us that not only could this area be opened up with access paths and planned routes to better see the wildlife but we could also use this to encourage our staff to get outside and appreciate all that we have on our doorstep. Fresh air and exercise make for a healthier workforce, and we’ve heard that a good target is to clock up 10,000 steps per day but how many of us actually get anywhere near that? For the ‘average’ person 2,000 steps is approx. 1 mile and in the UK the average person manages only 3,000 to 4,000 steps per day!
Melissa Abbott, our Supply Chain Sustainability Advisor who looks after sustainability within the company, took on the task and set about photographing and cataloguing the wildlife, finally producing a guided tour leaflet, map and signage throughout the walks to make the walks accessible, informative and enlightening too. The newly created wildlife walks are the perfect way to increase your daily step count. The walks range in length from 0.4 miles to 1.2 miles so there is something for everyone – our Floodplain Circular has even been designed with trail running in mind!
We must stress that the walks are only available for Muntons staff to use – they are not open to the public. Our hope is that at some time in the future we might be able to open the walks to selected organised groups.
The walks start at the edge of Muntons plant near the car park where a large map is located that clearly explains the different walks and the wildlife that might be seen.
Melissa has been out with the camera and the following are a small selection of the photographs that she has taken within the walk area:
Peacock butterfly on a non-native Buddleia flower
Malt silos next to the managed floodplain
Male Large Red Damselfly
Elderberries – Wine anyone?
Photo taken in the wood by the gravel car park at the end of September