A leading bakery is creating a nature reserve – in the middle of an industrial estate.
The Village Bakery will be breathing new life into six acres of woodland after signing up for a new partnership with the North Wales Wildlife Trust.
The site is next to the family firm’s two bakeries on Wrexham Industrial Estate which covers more than 1,300 acres and is biggest in Wales and the second largest in the UK.
The broad leaf woodland dates back to the 17th century and includes native species like oak, ash and willow.
It’s known there are tawny owls nesting there and it is also an important habitat for greater crested newts.
The driving force behind the project is Village Bakery chairman Alan Jones, a lifelong conservationist who practises what he preaches on his 35-acre small-holding.
There he has created five ponds, planted 4,000 trees and laid three quarters of a mile of hedge to encourage wildlife.
He said: “I’m really excited about this project because I have been a conservationist for a long, long time.
“Wildlife is my passion and I find that very relaxing after a shift in a bakery.
“On Wrexham Industrial Estate, we’ve looked at creating pools and planting wild flowers and we’re hoping to introduce bee hives.
“I must say that around that area you’d be surprised the number of species that are there now so all you need is a bit more encouragement.
“Obviously, we need jobs and development but there’s no reason at all why they can’t go hand in hand with the world of nature. You can have the best of both worlds.
“We want to create a little wildlife paradise in the middle of an industrial estate. I’m really looking forward to getting involved.”
Adrian Lloyd Jones. a conservation officer with the North Wales Wildlife Trust, came to the Village Bakery to present Alan and his son, Robin, the managing director, with a certificate as part of their corporate partnership scheme.
Adrian was pleased such a well-known company had signed up as a role model for the world of business and industry.
He said: “We all have to play our part and business can obviously have a huge impact on the environment and hopefully in a positive way.
“The Village Bakery have such progressive policies to do with society and working practice and ethics in the way that they run the business that I’m overjoyed that they’re choosing to be natural partners.
“We’re trying to develop what we call a living landscape scheme on the Wrexham Industrial Estate.
“It’s in the early stages at the moment but the idea is to try to make the industrial estate to still be a centre for employment but also to be a haven for wildlife.
“We’ll be able to advise them on any enhancements for biodiversity that they can do in that woodland which is a county wildlife site and also opening it up to enable people to visit it as an accessible nature reserve balancing of course any impact on wildlife.
“The industrial estate is actually quite well known for wildlife. It’s got great-crested newts and it’s also barn owls which are seen flying around the estate, water voles and even lapwings breeding on the eaves of some of the buildings on the estate.
“This is really quite exciting stuff and hopefully this is the beginning of a long partnership with the Village Bakery.
“We also hope is going to be good for the Village Bakery because people know that they are buying products from a company that is environmentally responsible and socially responsible.”