Holywells Park is a designated County Wildlife Site due to its importance for wildlife conservation – an oasis of wildlife within a short walk of Ipswich town centre.
The very special environment supports a variety of habitats including ponds, fields, woodland, orchard and formal gardens. There are large numbers of birds, invertebrates, small mammals, reptiles & amphibians and over 30 different tree species.
The park has remnants of ancient woodland evidenced by species such as native bluebells, wild garlic, wood anemone and wood sorrel. The displays of bluebell carpets in April and May are a popular park attraction (see photo below) The plentiful fallen deadwood provides homes for stag beetle, five banded weevil-wasp, bee wolf, golden hoverfly and many more species.
Butterflies are a key indicator of habitat quality and the parks long grass meadow, buckthorn, nettles, holly and Ivy support species such as Brimstone, Holy blue, Small tortoiseshell. Meadow brown, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Orange Tip and many more.
There are organised evening bat walks in the park where you can see (and hear with bat detectors!) some of the bats feeding on insect above the ponds. Bat species in Holywells include Noctule, Pipistrelle, Brown Long-eared Bat and Serotine Bat.
Over 100 bird species either live or visit the park and you will frequently see photographers with long lens cameras trying to capture that perfect image of a Kingfisher or Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Ipswich Wildlife Network
Holywells park is an important link in the Ipswich Wildlife Network which aims to help species move between areas thereby increasing the likelihood of their survival. Find out more about the Ipswich Wildlife Network (PDF). Species like toads and hedgehogs are particularly vulnerable to traffic – indeed in 2010 there was a toad tunnel constructed under Cliff Lane to help toads access their breeding grounds between Holywells and Landseer parks.
Much of the wildlife species information on this website has been kindly provided by Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service and you can also find lots of records on the Suffolk Naturalists’ Society Issuu website here. If you have any of your own wildlife records for the park we would love to hear from you (contact us here) and you can also send in your photographs for our gallery (please include your picture credit and caption).
You can find out much more about the wildlife by visiting the park – there are a number of information boards scattered throughout where you can learn about butterflies, woodland, veteran trees, orchards, small mammals, deadwood and birds. There is also a nature trail around the park – see PDF
Parks Character Area – Ipswich Urban Characterisation Study – PDF
Holywells Park Conservation Area – Appraisal and Management Plan – PDF
Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service
Ipswich Wildlife Network PDF