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02 September 2021

Reptile Training at London Borough of Bromley

London Borough of Bromley is home to four of the UK’s native reptile species; adder, grass snake, slow worm and viviparous lizard. All of these species are legally protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act (1981). idverde has managed London Borough of Bromley’s parks, including the nature reserves, since 2015. This includes managing nationally rare and declining habitats such as heathland and species-rich grasslands, which are essential habitats for reptiles, particularly the adder, which is only present on four sites across London, including one in Bromley!

Managing habitats for specific species is a challenging and controversial approach as focusing management on particular species can detriment others. As such, a landscape, site or habitat level approach is generally adopted in Bromley. Lowland heathland is an important habitat for reptiles and has suffered national declines of around 85% over the last 150 years. idverde Bromley recently worked with Kent Reptile & Amphibian Group (KRAG) & RSPB to train our ranger team and provide feedback on the progress of our habitat management on some sites with known reptile populations.


A morning of theoretical training was delivered by KRAG, followed by an afternoon of site visits as well as a consultation report provided by the RSPB. It was important that we received an independent assessment of our work to ensure that we are working rigorously and making management decisions based upon evidence.


The number of reptiles sighted on the day was hugely encouraging and indicative of a regionally significant population of adder, which our monitoring suggests is growing. This was a great relief to our teams as adders are the British reptile with the steepest decline nationally and predictions for their future in the south of England are bleak, so to see that our habitat management benefits the species to such a degree resulted in a delighted team.

Recommendations on future heathland management have been received, and idverde will consider them in future management. These include a significant reduction in gorse cover on heathland sites to allow heather to expand and potentially thinning tree cover to increase heathland areas further. This would benefit biodiversity more widely on site and increase the likelihood of linking up with other neighbouring sites, thus potentially allowing populations to grow and be more resilient to future conservation challenges.

Find out more about idverde’s commitment to ecology and biodiversity, here.

Our habitat management is a critical element of achieving the idverde Bromley Biodiversity Action Plan and is supported by our partnership with the RSPB.