Press Release

13 August 2013

Students and staff at Canterbury Christ Church University have undertaken the first complete habitat survey of the Canterbury UNESCO World Heritage Site, in celebration of its 25th anniversary.

Wildflower meadow on North Holmes Road Campus
Wildflower meadow on North Holmes Road Campus

The site includes the Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey and the Anglo-Saxon church of St Martin, as well as parts of the University’s North Holmes Road Campus.

This survey of the internationally significant site and its surrounding buffer zone has identified a large number of small but valuable pocket-habitats that are an important part of Canterbury’s ‘green infrastructure’. Some of these pocket habitats have already been developed, for example, as wildflower areas. The survey will allow the various stakeholders to identify new areas for conservation and development.

The survey is part of the Christ Church Bioversity initiative which involves the creation of an urban biodiversity hub centred on the World Heritage Site. It was undertaken by student interns under the direction of staff in the Ecology Research group (ERG) of the Department of Geographical and Life Sciences. The students, David Powley and Harriett Moore, are both studying Geography at Canterbury Christ Church University and have developed significant expertise in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as part of their studies. These skills were used to produce a computer based map of the whole site, with electronic links to target information about each habitat type.

Professor Peter Vujakovic, Head of Geographical and Life Sciences at the University and who leads the Bioversity initiative, said: “This is an important first step towards developing a biodiversity action plan for our campus, and eventually for the World Heritage Site as a whole. The University’s Bioversity project is innovative in its attempt to link culture, heritage and nature into its approach to sustainability.

“The focus of the Christ Church Bioversity concept is on the enrichment of student and staff experience through contact with nature.  In Canterbury we aim to transform our site into an urban biodiversity hub which reflects its rich cultural and environmental heritage, but which also focuses on the future through our concern for social and environmental responsibility. Biodiversity is a fundamental to all aspects of life on our planet, without diverse ecological systems, and the plants, animals and other organisms that live and inhabit them, we could not survive.”

Notes to Editor

Ecology Research Group - Department of Geographical and Life Sciences

The Ecology Research Group (ERG), based in the Department of Geographical and Life sciences has a long history of undertaking research and consultancy work in areas related to the environment. It has worked closely with a range of businesses and organisations, (e.g. Canterbury City Council, the Environment Agency, the Natural History Museum,  and Natural England), and charities (e.g. the Aspinall Foundation, Kent Wildlife Trust). The ERG contributes to the university’s developments in both teaching and practical aspects of sustainability. For further information please contact


Canterbury Christ Church University is a large organisation with some 1,800 staff and nearly 20,000 students at multiple locations within Kent. The University recognises that it has an impact upon the environment and is committed to minimising, within the constraints imposed by financial sustainability, any negative affects the delivery of its core activities might have. The University is committed to sustainable development based on clear key performance indicators, to ensure management is focused on key objectives and that targets are met, and to ensure that the positive impacts of education for sustainable development are maximised. This policy statement operates within the wider context of the strategic plan, in which a key strategic goal is to ‘Promote a sustainable future’.

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 94% of our most recent UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2012 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2011/12 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey




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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:16:00