Here is a look back at all the facts we provided each day in December, through the run-up to Christmas in our ACD Advent Calendar.

  1. Welcome to the ACD Environmental advent calendar. Follow our page to receive a fact every day until Christmas! Let’s start off with a fact about us, did you know, that ACD Environmental has over 30 years’ experience as an environmental consultancy? Since the formation of the practice, ACD has successfully completed over 4,500 projects across Britain and a number of international projects. Why don’t you contact us today for your requirements in Landscape Architecture, Ecology, Arboriculture and Archaeology, on 01666 825646 or email us at
  2. This week is National Tree Week (28th November – 6 December 2020), the UK’s largest annual tree celebration, marking the start of the winter tree planting season (November to March). The Tree Council first established National Tree Week in March 1975 to support national replanting of trees after the outbreak of Dutch Elm disease. Each year, upward of a quarter of a million people come together to plant trees (Photo and source The Tree Council).
  3. The word “landscape” is Dutch in origin coming from the word ‘landscap’ meaning “land”- region and “scap”- ship or condition. The more familiar interpretation of the German word “landschaft” came into common usage in 19th Century denoting a ‘tract of land with its distinguishing characteristics’.
  4. Brown hares are thought to be introduced into the UK during Roman times and have since been considered naturalised. Favouring a mosaic habitat of arable fields, grasslands, and hedgerows. Did you know, speed is a hare’s main defence against predators and can reach speeds of up to 45mph (72kph) when escaping predators.
  5. Silbury Hill in Wiltshire is the largest man-made prehistoric earth mound in Europe, contemporary with the nearby West Kennett long barrow and Avebury henge. Its actual function has long been contested, but one suggestion is that the mound represents the womb of an ‘earth mother’ created in plan by adjacent flooded depressions in mid-winter. (Photo: English Heritage)
  6. Did you know, that one hour of weeding burns around 300 calories (the same as walking or cycling at a moderate pace), and manual push mowing of the lawn burns 350 calories per hour (the same rate as playing a gentle game of tennis)? Also, gardening can help to keep you toned, improve flexibility and mental health.
  7. The skin of a toad is often described as ‘warty’. When threatened, the warts on a toad back can secrete a vile tasting substance as a defence against predators.
  8. In a single day, a large tree can consume 100 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air as oxygen and water vapor (source Precision Landscape & Tree).
  9. The term ‘landscape architecture’ was first used in 1828 when it was used in the title of a book called Landscape Architecture of the Great Italian Painters of Italy. The term had originally been a painting term.
  10. The word ecology was coined by the German zoologist Ernst Haeckel, who applied the term oekologie to the “relation of the animal both to its organic as well as its inorganic environment.” The word comes from the Greek oikos, meaning “household,” “home,” or “place to live.” Thus, ecology deals with the organism and its environment.
  11. This year, ACD have been raising money for two brilliant charities, Mind and Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Did you know that it is estimated that only 25% of people with mental health problems receive support each year? By donating to Mind, you can help expand their services to support the people who need it most. Did you also know that the air ambulance can scramble in 2 minutes and on average, attend 3 potentially lifesaving missions a day? By donating to Wiltshire Air Ambulance, you can help to keep their essential service operating for up to 19 hours a day, 365 days a year. Today, we will be holding our annual Christmas Raffle, whilst celebrating Christmas Jumper Day, with all proceeds being donated to our charities of the year. If you would like to donate to these causes, please visit our fundraising page here
  12. Trees and vegetation have an important role in improving air quality, mediating some of the negative effects of pollutants, and removing CO2 from the atmosphere. A good planting strategy that increases leaf cover can provide a surface area 2-12 times greater than the area of land that they cover. This means that a good planting strategy can maximise the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere and help to improve air quality more efficiently (source Forestry Commission).
  13. Extracts from mistletoe have shown signs of being more effective against cancer, and less toxic to humans, than standard chemotherapy (source National Wildlife Federation).
  14. The smooth snake is Britain’s rarest reptile and, in the UK, only found naturally on heathlands. The smooth snake’s name comes from the fact that its scales are flat and smooth, unlike those of the grass snake and adder which have a ridge (or ‘keel’) down the middle.
  15. As well as improving health and quality of life, access to well-designed play areas can improve children’s self-awareness, self-esteem, self-respect, provide social play opportunities, increases confidence, develops new skills, promotes imagination, independence, and creativity, builds resilience through risk-taking, problem-solving and dealing with new situations. It also provides children with the opportunity to learn about the environment in which they live and their wider community (source Play England).
  16. The single largest organism on Earth is a tree! The male quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), named Pando (Latin for “I spread”), has clones of itself spread out across more than 5 miles of forest.
  17. It is that time of year when dormice are tucked up and hibernating for the winter.  The word dormouse is considered likely to derive from the French dormir or Latin dormire meaning ‘to sleep’. This likely reflects the fact that they can hibernate or go into torpor for up to seven months of the year!
  18. Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem pub in Nottingham is one of several claiming to be England’s oldest, in this case from the 12th However, Historic England’s listing (Grade II) citation notes 17th century origins. Parts of the pub are quarried out of the soft local sandstone, so locals place beer mats over their drinks to avoid contamination! (Photo: TripAdvisor)
  19. Our soils can store an estimated 130 trillion litres of water and a single hectare of soil has the potential to store and filter enough water for 1000 people for a whole year. That is why soil is considered a vital component of both natural and artificial surface water attenuation systems (source Climate Change Committee).
  20. There are 18 species of bat known to reside in the UK. This is a brown long-eared bat which is referred to as the ‘whispering bats’ as their echolocation sounds are very quiet.
  21. The Forest of Dean has ancient oak trees planted under the instructions of Lord Nelson when wood for shipbuilding was in short supply in the early 1800s. By the time they were mature, shipbuilding had moved from wood to steel and so the trees remain standing to this day. In this photo you can also see a beautiful carpet of bluebells, did you know that the UK’s woods are home to almost half of all the bluebells in the world? (sources Forest Holidays/Woodland Trust)
  22. High quality public open space and public realms can add monetary value to the property. Landscaped streets, gardens, open spaces, and greenery can add up to 15% to property values and makes a valuable contribution to the neighbourhood’s wellbeing (source BBC).
  23. At this time of year great crested newts will be spending their time sheltering under rocks, in compost heaps or buried down in mud. However, do not be surprised if you see one as they may take advantage of milder patches of weather to come out and forage.
  24. Season’s greetings from everyone at ACD, we wish you a prosperous new year!