We use cookies on this site. By browsing our site you agree to our use of cookies. Close this message Find out more

Home > Sustainability > Biodiversity
More in this section Sustainability


The College's Ecological Management Plan identifies the main habitats within the grounds of Royal Holloway, which will be managed to maintain and enhance their nature conservation value. We've been working on a gradual programme to increase biodiversity, as can be seen in our Woodland Management document. Through management of each of these we aim to:

  • enhance the nature conservation value of the southwest and northeast grasslands by appropriate grassland management
  • manage the existing mature woodlands for nature conservation
  • manage the ponds and enhance their value for amphibians
  • enhance the ecological value of areas of grassland, scrub and other habitats to the north of the A30
  • monitor the ecological condition of the main habitats, in particular the southwest grassland, ponds and watercourses.


Or maybe you would be interested in gaining some practical experience by taking part in our annual wildlife surveys. 



In 2007 the management of the grass banks in between the Arts buildings and the Horton building were changed to maximise the potential of this area for wildflowers. The poor soil on these banks provides the perfect site for wildflowers with numerous plants already established there.  The banks were sown with an annual cornfield seed mix with further wildflower plug plants also being added.

The banks are now home to a range of plants including:

  • annual poppies
  • corn cockles
  • corn chamomile
  • corn marigolds
  • oxeye daisies
  • evening primrose. 

The area is also attracting bees, butterflies and other insects.

To maintain this area for wildflowers, the banks are cut in autumn to allow the wildflowers to set seed. The banks are then mown in March to help reduce the competition of grasses.

In March 2009 another wildflower area was created at the back of the Arts building. The site was rotovated, prepared and then sown with a perennial wildflower mix and an annual cornfield mix. 

This area is now home to a range of wildflowers and is being managed in the same way as the wildflower banks to maximise its further potential.

woodland flora1The main woodland behind Founder's building comprises broad-leaved deciduous trees; mainly beech and oak.  There are a variety of plant species in this area such as foxgloves, snowdrops, bluebells, wood anemones and primroses.  There are also a number of ornamental species such as Monkey Puzzles, Coast Redwoods, Wellingtonia's, Cypress species and Tulip trees.

The following animal species have also been found here: amphibians, birds, bats, badgers, deer and common reptiles.

For more information about our Stag Beetle habitats click here.

The woodland areas feature many log piles and standing deadwood.


The removal of invasive species has opened up large areas of the woodland. These areas are now being managed to control any regrowth and to encourage the natural growth of the woodland.

British native broad leaf trees such as  Oak, Ash, Hornbeam and Hawthorn are also being planted in these areas.In some areas of the woodland some invasive species such as Rhododendrons, Cherry Laurel and some Japanese Knotweed have been found. 

The Gardening Team work tirelessly to remove these species from the woodland and spend many hours clearing woodland scrub and brambles to allow other flora and immature trees to grow.  However, some areas of brambles are maintained as these act as a habitat for some bird species.

The removal of Rhododendron and Cherry Laurel has opened up large areas of the woodland. These areas are now being managed to control any regrowth of these species, and to encourage the natural regeneration of woodland flora including self sown saplings.

British native broad leaves trees are also being planted in these areas including Oak, Hornbeam, and Hawthorn.

Tucked away on the North side of the A30, the Arboretum, part of the old Botanical Supply Unit, comprises an interesting and significant collection of trees.

Planted during the 1960’s and 1970’s the Arboretum was the brainchild of Professor F.W Jane, Professor of Botany from 1949-1963.  

The Arboretum is noted on the Tree Register as “A unique record of Notable and Ancient Trees in Britain and Ireland” and as one of the notable tree collections in Surrey.  The collection comprises some more unusual, interesting and rare trees including:

  • an American Button wood (Platanus occidentalis)
  • Simon’s Poplar (Populus simonii)
  • Cork oak (Quercus suber)
  • American White Oak (Quercus alba)
  • and a collection of Southern Beech (Nothofagus).

Over the past couple of years the Gardening Team has been working on improving/enhancing the Arboretum. Works undertaken include clearing bramble along the boundary, clearing Ivy from the wall near Sutherland House and tree surgery by contractors to improve the health of many of the trees. 

Visit during May and you will see the impressive flowers of the Indian Horse Chestnut (Aesculus indica), while later in the year during autumn you can enjoy the colourful leaf displays of the Maple collection.

The Arboretum can usually be accessed by the memorial benches at Sutherland House.

For more information click here

The EMU houses our five honey bee observation hives.

These hives are used for research by Dr Elli Leadbeater's group in the School of Biological Sciences, as part of an EU-funded project on the honeybee waggle dance. The dance is a communication behaviour that bees perform when returning to the hive after finding food, to inform their nestmates of good forage locations. We can train bees to feeders in different areas around campus and film their corresponding dances. The observation hives are used for ongoing projects, including the genetic basis for waggle-dancing and the effects of urban and suburban environments on honeybees. 

9 Bees 1

To find out more click here.


Follow us


Comment on this page

Did you find the information you were looking for? Is there a broken link or content that needs updating? Let us know so we can improve the page.

Note: If you need further information or have a question that cannot be satisfied by this page, please call our switchboard on +44 (0)1784 434455.

This window will close when you submit your comment.

Add Your Feedback