County Wildlife Site
Ilketshall St. Andrew & St. John

A County Wildlife Site and area of historic importance

County Wildlife Site

In 2017 all the commons were awarded the designation of being a County Wildlife Site (CWS) demonstrating their key role in the conservation of Suffolk’s biodiversity. Suffolk has over 900 County Wildlife Sites, amounting to 19,200 hectares and covering 5% of the county. The designation is non-statutory, but recognises the high value of the site being characteristic and supportive of threatened species and habitats. Suitable sites may be privately or publicly owned and can vary in size and shape from small meadows, green lanes, dykes and hedges plus larger areas of ancient woodland, heathland, greens, commons and marsh.

The sites are designated according to a selection criteria that follow Natural England guidelines. The Suffolk CWS panel has a specific and closely defined remit, and follows a specific procedure, made up of expertise from Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service (SBIS), Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Natural England. The Panel meets to assess and designate potential sites based on information submitted to them.

The application submitted to the assessment Panel included a number of surveys including those on floral diversity and wild bird numbers and species. Reports monitoring bats and butterflies were also submitted together with a vast array of other data and information for the Panel to consider.

The ancient grasslands at Ilketshall St. Andrew, St. John and Becks Green form an area approaching 80 acres which is actively managed by professional contractors and volunteers.

The CWS status demonstrates the commitment and enthusiasm involved in the maintenance of the commons and highlights the importance of careful management to protect and enhance wildlife habitats which can all to easily deteriorate if neglected or managed in an unfavourable way.

Visitors to the commons are encouraged to park at the village hall (Google Maps) and walk the various pathways which surround this very special landscape. Dog walkers are welcome but are requested to keep dogs under control and to pick up please.

Please take a couple of minutes to enjoy this video about the Commons.