BioBlitz at Canterbury Cathedral to record wildlife that call the World Heritage Site home

Canterbury Cathedral has been trying to promote biodiversityReuters

Canterbury Cathedral is to conduct an audit of the birds, insects and small creatures that call the World Heritage Site home. 

The cathedral has already taken steps to make its grounds wildlife-friendly, particularly for bees, which are under threat in the UK. 

The 'BioBlitz' is being carried out by the cathedral to keep track of the wildlife living there and help it better understand how to support biodiversity in its grounds.

The cathedral will be inviting members of the public to get involved in the pilot project during its Open Gardens Weekend over the bank holiday weekend. 

Head gardener Philip Oostenbrink, who appeared on BBC's Gardeners' World last Friday to share more about the project, said: "Holding a BioBlitz offers us a unique opportunity to record the birds, reptiles and amphibians, insects and mammals that find a home here.

"We plant open flowers to encourage pollinators such as salvia, ornamental oregano and aquilegia – Granny's Bonnets – for the bees.

"We make sure we have early spring flowers for food, and our borders keep enough natural debris.

"Studying a number of different habitats would help us gain more knowledge for our wildlife-friendly approach to gardening these wonderful spaces." 

The BioBlitz is being overseen by head gardener at Canterbury Cathedral, Philip Oostenbrink(Photo: Canterbury Cathedral)

Canon Missioner the Rev Dr Emma Pennington lives at the cathedral and has built a simple log pile for endangered stag beetles and a newly colonised beehive.

She hopes the BioBlitz will become an annual event at the cathedral involving as many "citizen scientists" as possible. 

"A key area of the cathedral's commitment to the environment is to care for, protect and promote wildlife and biodiversity in the precincts," she said.

"This event would offer a great start to recording these numbers so we can monitor progress of the diversity in our natural environment.

"We hope it can become an annual feature and involve as many citizen scientists as possible."