At Bargate we say we care, as a demonstration of how much we care please read on to see how we are getting involved within our local community.

Groundwork was about to start on 59 new homes at Martin Street, Bishop’s Waltham when Bargate Homes realised that there were around 300 Common Spotted Orchids flowering there. Although not designated as rare, these exquisitely marked plants amount to around 20% of the remaining stock in Bishop’s Waltham, so their importance was obvious to all, not least for their role in carbon capture.

Organiser Trish Simpson-Davis said: ‘As soon as I contacted Andy Kirkpatrick and explained the problem, he took a big breath and Andy leads from the front! jumped on board. Due to Health and Safety concerns, volunteers weren’t allowed on site, but Bargate rounded up a team from contractors WYG, Knighton Countryside Management and England Civils, to rescue as many of possible.’

Word rapidly spread through Bishop’s Waltham In Bloom and Gardening Clubs. With advice from national expert, Suzanne Noble of British Orchids, potential sites were assessed for suitability and volunteers prepped on caring for the plants, to give them the best possible chance of survival.

On a hot July Tuesday, the digger driver started his delicate task, carefully supervised by ecologist Ben Cooke of WYG. Local volunteers from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust re-bagged the orchids from tonne bags donated by Elliott’s Builders Merchants, into rubble sacks from B&Q’s Park Gate branch.155 orchids are now dug in at Bishop’s Waltham Parish Council’s Priory Park, Hoe Road Cemetery, the Cricket Club, Durley School and Bursledon Brickworks.

A dozen enthusiastic gardeners are nurturing the rest; hopefully, 30-40 will return to the site, once the homes, balancing pond and wildflower area are complete. Wildflowers are just as effective as trees in mopping up CO2 emissions and reducing local air pollution. Thanks to Bargate’s can-do attitude, more than half the orchids will carry on with that vital job. Thank you to Bargate and your contractors for doing your bit!