On their second visit to Caversham Court as part of the site's restoration project, CROW built a loggery in which it is hoped stag beetles will lay their eggs and the larvae develop.
A loggery consists of a number of large logs of varying lengths which are sunk vertically in to the ground. The height of the logs visible above ground level is varied to give a Giants Causeway effect, creating a feature which is both beneficial to wildlife and visually interesting.
The male stag beetle is Britain's largest beetle, up to 50mm (2in) in length. Its antler shaped jaws give it a ferocious appearance although it is in fact harmless.
The larvae feed on dead timber and it is for these that the loggery is intended. The larval stage lasts for up to 3 years (some sources say 7). The adults emerge between June and August to mate and lay eggs. The adult life span is short and they generally die shortly after mating, often within a month of emerging.
Worldwide the stag beetle is an endangered species and a significant proportion of the total population is to be found in the British Isles. They play an important role in the decomposition of dead timber.
For more information about stag beetles and loggeries visit Maria Fremlin - Stag Beetles, which contains some impressive photo's of loggeries.
To help monitor the stag beetle population visit The Great Stag Hunt.