A GOLF club hopes to be reaping the benefits of free environmental management advice later this year.

Ecologists will advise greenkeeping staff and club officials at the Ampleforth College club, in North Yorkshire, on ways to encourage wildlife.

Suggestions include putting up bird boxes, relaxing grass cutting and developing hedgerows.

The service is being provided by STRI, the golf industry's independent advisory and research specialist, and jointly funded by the English Golf Union and English Nature.

The club is aiming towards the National Environment Award For Golf Courses, an accreditation that acknowledges the club's environmental commitment.

Dr Keith Duff, chief scientist for English Nature, said: "Golf courses can be of great value to many types of wildlife, particularly if they are managed sympathetically.

"They have a mix of many different habitats, including hedges, ponds, woods and grassland."