Who lives in our newest five-star residential development? The ladybirds and butterflies of Uffington Bridge.

Much like any family, we think it’s important to teach younger generations what we know, so that they can continue our legacy, promoting sustainability in their communities. So whether you join us as a graduate or as an apprentice, it’s likely that you’ll visit schools and youth groups to share new skills, talk about the work you’re doing – and help them achieve wonderful things.

Take the work we did in Oxfordshire, for example, during construction of a new footbridge in Uffington. The bridge construction project itself was part of the Greater West electrification programme, upgrading railway tracks, tunnels, stations and bridges across Wales and the south of England. In Uffington, those efforts included a new sustainably-built footbridge to replace an old level crossing.

One of the groups who’d benefit from that directly were the town’s Scouts: children from around the area, who would now have a safer, faster walk to and from their Scout hall. They were even the first members of the public to walk across the bridge when it opened.

With the Scouts so directly affected by the project, we wanted them to be part of and understand the footbridge’s construction. We wanted them to see how, even beyond their own experience, it would benefit the whole community – including its wildlife.

That’s why, together with the Scouts, we set out to build a new ‘bug hotel’: a hibernation and breeding habitat for all the insects living along the level crossing, including bees, ladybirds, butterflies, lacewings, beetles, and more. The project would teach these young people, first of all, about the importance of protecting biodiversity: these insects are all vital to pollination, pest and weed control, and maintaining soil nutrients

At the same time though, we’d also be setting a valuable example when it came to recycling and sustainability. How? Because most impressively of all, this giant bug hotel was built entirely with leftover equipment and materials from the bridge’s construction, including pallets, pipe cut-offs, vegetation waste and bricks. A win-win for all of us, including the local insect community.

Butterflies and beetles