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Biodiversity strategy

We take our duties as a centre of learning, neighbour and employer seriously, and strive to make a positive impact in the world.

By introducing a new biodiversity strategy, we are working to enhance the University and Durham City, as a place within which wildlife can prosper and where staff, students and the local community can work, study and live within an engaging and healthy environment.
Read our brochure
Comma butterfly on branch
251ha of land
99 bird species
355 moth species
416+ plant species
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Enhancing Biodiversity at Durham

Durham University is situated within a highly biodiverse environment. Discover more about how we are intending on measuring, maintaining and enhancing biodiversity across our 251ha of land at Durham.

Visit our Botanic Garden



University student
At Durham University we want to deliver excellence in education, research and wider student experience in the most sustainable way possible, and biodiversity is key to this.

Professor Karen O'Brien
Vice Chancellor and Warden



8 bee species
24 mammal species
5 amphibian species
20 butterfly species
A toad on grass

Amphibians are key indicators of water quality and are important food for many wetland predators. The creation of new ponds and the recreation of long-lost ponds is a key priority for these species.

Sallow Kitten moth on wood

Our Estate is home to a high diversity of insects including nationally and locally rare species.  Significant work has been done on surveying the University’s moths which indicate important and healthy habitats across the Estate.


Wood Anemone in woods

Home to some important plant species, including some which are locally rare, new work has begun across the Estate to create wildflower meadows to replace mown and amenity grassland.


European otter on frosty ground

We are home to around 24 mammal species including up to eight species of bat, and healthy populations of Roe Deer, Red Fox and Badgers, with Otters breeding along the river.

Bluebells in wood

We are currently developing a new Woodland Management Plan to ensure the long-term sustainability of our woodlands and their associated biodiversity.


Reed bunting on a reed

Our Estate is home to large numbers of bird species and we’ve recorded over 100 species, including many that have declined rapidly in recent decades.


Hedgehog at night

We participate in schemes such as the Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme to improve the management of field boundaries, and are trialling the creation of new species-rich grasslands.


A barn owl in flight

Ongoing monitoring is critical to ensure conservation actions deliver the intended benefits. We will encourage some of this monitoring to be undertaken by the wider staff and student population, to widen engagement with biodiversity across the university. 


More about biodiversity at Durham

Our Biodiversity Strategy for 2022-2032 is the culmination of many years of work by our staff and students. Here at Durham, we have an enviable green and biodiverse Estate, with fascinating wildlife on the doorstep of almost all departments and colleges.

We already undertake much work to maintain our biodiversity assets, and as a result, in 2022, became one of the founding members of the Nature Positive Universities Network, which was established at the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBP-COP15) in Montreal, Canada.

Hedgehog Friendly Campus

Did you know we're a Hedgehog Friendly Campus? We successfully gained the Gold Accreditation from the Hedgehog Preservation Society for the Academic Year 2022/23. We are now working on attaining the Platinum award! 

Snail on a log

Are you curious to find out more?

We invite you to read our brochure which provides a flavour of some of the key biodiversity attributes of the University Estate, and types of work we will undertake over the next decade to ensure the University-managed land around Durham remains in a healthy state for biodiversity.

Read our brochure