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Glow worms and ancient oaks at Aldermaston AWE

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An ecology report commissioned by The Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston as part of a planning application for a new high explosives fabrication facility showed a healthy population of glow worms. Which might raise a wry smile here and there.

The limit on building developments in the area sees regular wildlife audits.

Oak number 3474 is one of 15 Aldermaston trees surveyed by the AWE environment team this year to record their details and estimated ages. It is said to be nearly 600 years old.

Nine oaks are categorised as ‘ancient’ – the oldest status – while four hold the slightly younger title of ‘veteran’.

One is also a roost for a barn owl, which is a protected species with declining numbers.

They are also trying to encourage peregrine falcons back. Artificial nest boxes are being installed to compensate for buildings which are being demolished. There are also black redstarts, woodpeckers, little ringed plovers, woodlark and lapwings.

Orchids are said to grow well on the bunkers.

There are also adders, great crested newts, a selection of bats and badgers, Emperor and Scarlett Tiger moths and some bog brush crickets.

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