Otterly delighted at Great Kneighton in Trumpington

Otters are one of the UK’s most playful animals – they love having fun and will happily create water slides just for their own amusement or dive for stones at the bottom of the river like children playing on holiday. These extraordinary creatures are wonderful to spot in the wild, so it was with great excitement that Countryside, the developers behind the Great Kneighton development in Trumpington, Cambridge, discovered some living on Hobson’s Brook in the heart of the new Country Park.

At Great Kneighton Country Park several measures have been put in place to ensure the quality of habitat for a range of wildlife is maintained. Otters travel up to 15 miles of river habitat and require clean rivers with an abundant, varied supply of food and plenty of bankside vegetation which offer secluded sites for their holts. A buffer between Hobson’s Brook, where the otters have been spotted, and the built development and haulage roads has been created to reduce noise and human impact on the bankside vegetation. In addition, the crossing points for haulage roads and footpaths were designed to span the brook to ensure wildlife safety and secure access beneath.

Andrew Carrington, managing director of Strategic Land at Countryside, comments: “Providing natural green spaces, both for residents and wildlife, is very much our ethos at Countryside. We have a number of ecological projects on all of our sites to attract and enhance the wildlife and make sure they thrive for many years to come. The discovery of otters is such exciting news for us and our residents at Great Kneighton. We have employed experts Ecoulis to oversee the ecology of the Country Park, who have been on site long before any construction started, and will be keeping an eye on our wildlife for as long as 10 years after construction finishes.”

The new Country Park, stretching over 120 acres, is the focus of the Great Kneighton development and features lots of woodland, four ponds – one of which is part of a 50,000 sq m bird reserve – allotments, playing fields for the new secondary school, and a range of adventure play areas for younger residents.

Construction of the park has been taking place in phases, with the first phase now complete and planned to be open to the public next spring. The site is a contemporary, sustainable development of more than 2,000 new homes, from apartments to six-bedroom family houses. Amenities include a new secondary and primary school, community square with health centre, shops, plus a library, sports pitches and a public art programme.

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