Building a Hibernaculum

Hibernacula are underground chambers that amphibians and reptiles use throughout the winter to protect themselves from the cold.

Amphibians and reptiles like frogs, toads, newts, lizards and snakes are regular visitors to gardens, especially those with log piles, sunny spots, ponds, bogs and compost heaps. Creating a hibernaculum provides a safe space for amphibians and reptiles to hibernate over winter, as well as a spot for solitary bees to soak up the sun and for birds to relax.


Hibernaculum Instructions 2



1. The site we chose - in the North West corner of the churchyard, on an open, sunny bank
2. Bob and Tom mark out the base and start digging. We leave the hole covered in branches as the rain pours down
3. Resume digging - as we reach 40 cm we hit sticky red clay
4. Ed and Norman digging down removing bramble roots
5. Lesley piled up rocks, logs and small branches
6. Filling the hole with layers of stone and branches
7. Once the hole was filled with rubble and wood we started to backfill - inserting two short drainpipes to give access to the interior.
8. All the soil which was dug out was put back on top of the stone and branches. We tapped it down firmly and then laid the turf we had removed on top.
9. Luckily the rain had kept the turf moist and with luck it will grow strongly, stabilising the Hibernaculum
10. The Hibernaculum blends well into the bank. Hopefully a lizard or two will overwinter here.