Larkrise co-housing will be a mutually supportive eco development. The ethos underpinning Larkrise is to tread lightly on the earth, preserving old and planting new to encourage wildlife and biodiversity.
Newly planted oaks will flank the entrance to Larkrise, capable of supporting nearly 2,500 different species when they mature. To north, west and south native hedges – species rich, tall and wide consisting of ancient hollies, field maples and a bird cherry will surround Larkrise, together with hazel, elder, willow and hawthorn. These hedges will be traditionally managed and nurtured. Locally gathered tree seeds have been raised to fill gaps in these boundary hedges. Protected from the prevailing south westerly winds, orchards will be planted. As fruit trees age quickly, they create the perfect habitats, throughout the seasons, for invertebrates and birds.
Wildflower meadows and prairie planting will be the matrix on the site. Where necessary, seeds varying from woodland to meadow specific will be broadcast. Cut grass foot paths will wind through the prairie, meadows and orchards.
The Larkrise site will drain into a partially clay lined pool. This will attract invertebrates and in turn, birds, foxes, and bats to feed. Given time, the boggy areas, overhung by weeping willow, will be able to support native bog plants.
The householders of Larkrise will be encouraged to plant wildlife (especially bee) friendly plants in their gardens. Allotments will be organically tended to produce as many varieties of soft fruit and vegetables as possible. Compost bins will process the arisings. Cobnuts, walnuts and sweet chestnuts will be planted to provide crops and shelter from northerly winds. Alongside the orchard top fruits, fig, quince and mulberry will be planted in the more sheltered areas.
Larkrise has taken many years of thoughtful and innovative planning at every stage with the aim is to enrich the lives of all who live there. Its prime movers hope it may provide an exemplar for future housing developments.
Written by Caroline for Larkrise as a case study for Climate Emergency Response in Hereford & Herefordshire