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Helping to Conserve Wildlife

DATE PUBLISHED:  17 June 2021

Local residents together with Rykneld Homes are playing their part in helping to protect endangered wildlife.

We recently completed External Wall Insulation (EWI) to 113 properties in Mickley - helping to make them more energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions. 

However, some of the improvement works can affect wildlife, including swifts, who use holes in brick work for nesting.

A few years ago, a local resident informed Derbyshire Wildlife Trust (DWT) about a swift colony in Mickley. The Trust then contacted Rykneld Homes about the possible effect that external improvements to the houses could have on the birds.

The local enthusiast knew all the homes where the birds had been seen nesting. When Rykneld decided to carry out the EWI improvements in Mickley, it used this information and together with its contractor, Sustainable Building Services (SBS), put specialist swift boxes on any building where the swifts nested. It also offered additional boxes to anyone in the village who wanted one.

Fifty swift boxes were purchased from Peak Boxes, a local business in Hathersage.

Rykneld gave five of the boxes to Mickley Infants School, who painted them the colours of the flags of some of the countries the swifts fly through during their migration. The school has worked the birds into their curriculum, with a dedicated guest lesson from Louise Bentley from Bolton and Bury Swifts, delivered for the school via Zoom. 

Sara Street, Head Teacher at the school said: “The children have enjoyed painting the boxes in the colours of the flags. The children also enjoyed the talk about swifts from 'Superswifts' and are learning more about the birds through this project.” 

  • This is the second time that Rykneld Homes has installed swift boxes as part of a housing regeneration scheme – we have also worked with residents and schoolchildren in North Wingfield which has a colony of the birds.




Swifts are remarkable birds – they spend almost all their lives on the wing, eating, mating and even sleeping whilst in the air. Each year they complete an epic migration, travelling thousands of miles to visit central Africa during the winter, arriving back in the UK in May to nest and rear their young. Sadly, there has been a 50% reduction in numbers in the UK over the past twenty years.

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