The university is committed to maintaining and enhancing the biodiversity of the grounds and estate

We make every attempt to preserve and enhance existing valuable habitats


The University takes great pride in its estates and takes the following actions to maintain and enhance its biodiversity:

  • Preserve and enhance existing valuable habitats.
  • Identify specialist measures for vulnerable species.  e.g. protection around known badger sites.
  • Erect explanatory signs by valuable habitats.
  • Reduce the use of residual pesticides e.g. use of bark mulch and natural predators.
  • Zero green waste policy.
  • Stimulate natural habitats by leaving  ‘eco-strips’ near streams and woodland edges.
  • Non-urgent tree felling works to be done outside the bird nesting season and hedges checked for nests.
  • Habitat piles left in appropriate areas to provide sources of food, shelter and hibernation sites.
  • Bird and bat boxes will be erected at suitable locations throughout the campus and monitored annually.
  • Planting schemes will use a variety of plants, trees and shrubs, with varying flowering times to encourage year round wildlife activity.

You can also view a map which highlights the different habitats across the campus and view our Leaflet: 'Biodiversity at the University of Exeter'  for more information.

If you would like more information on how the University is working to reduce the environmental impact of our operations and to make a positive impact on our local environment, please visit our Sustainability pages.

Case Studies

Hoopern Valley

The Valley consists of a series of manmade ponds that are subject to sympathetic management to encourage wildlife.

A 1 metre strip at the pond edges is left uncut to support amphibians and small mammals and birds, providing them with an area in which they can safely move up and down the water’s edge, reducing the risk they have of being exposed to predators.

The mixed vegetation around the areas of standing water includes Willow and Alder trees and marginal plants such as Bulrush and branched Bur-reed.  These provide excellent habitat for a range of waterfowl which regularly nest and raise their young in the Valley.

Download Hoopern Valley Case Study

Reed Pond

Reed Pond takes its name from the nearby Reed Hall.  In 1922 the house, then known as Streatham Hall, and the grounds were presented to the Exeter University College by Alderman W.H. Reed, a former Mayor of Exeter.  The grounds included an extensive range of plants, laid out and provided by the famous Veitch family of horticulturalists and nurserymen.  These plants still form the nucleus of the campus tree and botanical collections today.

The pond itself, in common with contemporary landscape features, is a manmade brick and puddle clay construction.  It is home to ‘stocked’ ornamental fish and wildfowl.  It also supports a variety of other wild birds including Mallards, Coots, Moorhens and the occasional Kingfisher.

Download Reed Pond Case Study and Reed Hall pond presentation 

Taddiforde Valley

The Taddiforde Valley consists of a series of manmade ponds constructed during the 1960s and 70s, to mimic natural watercourses.  The ponds are fed by the Taddiforde Brook and its tributaries.  The area is managed sympathetically, with fallen branches left in some areas to promote roosting points for birds.  Habitat piles have also been left in selected areas to provide wildlife with sources of food, shelter and hibernation sites. 

Amphibians such as Toads and Newts utilise the habitats provided in the valley.  There are also records of the site being used by Dormouse, Hedgehog and Water Vole, priority species in the local Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP.)

The watercourse has plant species such as Watercress, Pond Sedge, Lesser Water Parsnip and Lesser Reed Mace, along with several water dependent insects.

Download Taddiforde Valley Case Study