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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Newts return to restored New Forest pond



A pond restoration project aiming to benefit wildlife has achieved instant success, with a family of newts returning to the site.

Young volunteers inspect Lover Green pond during work by the New Forest National Park Authority
and Lover Green Association to restore the pond to benefit wildlife.
The pond is situated in Lover in the north of the New Forest and had become overgrown in recent years, making it less attractive to wildlife.

The project received nearly £2,000 in funding from the New Forest National Park Authority’s Sustainable Communities Fund and has been led by the Lover Green Association. This support has helped volunteers to successfully restore the pond to its former glory, with the aim of benefiting amphibians, wild flowers and insects.

Professional contractors removed overhanging trees and undertook landscaping work to prepare the site. Around 30 volunteers then helped to shift tonnes of sand and put down the underlay and huge rubber liner, before filling the pond with water, all under the supervision of New Forest National Park Authority ranger Craig Daters.

The benefit to local wildlife was immediately obvious, as the following day saw newts, water beetles and pond skaters making themselves at home in the pond.

Craig Daters, New Forest National Park Authority ranger, said: ‘It’s been great helping the local community to restore this wildlife pond, and seeing it full of water makes all their hard work worthwhile.

‘The Sustainable Communities Fund grant helped to purchase the equipment and materials required, and the enthusiasm and commitment of local people has made this project happen. They have worked tirelessly to develop the pond, which will improve the natural biodiversity of the Green and provide opportunities to educate people about nature.’

Mar Copp [correct], secretary to Lover Green Association, said: ‘Led by Craig we have shifted four tonnes of sand, profiled the pond, laid the underlay and liner and part filled it with water. We then left it to settle and were amazed to find that newts had moved in the very next day!

‘The pond will greatly enhance the biodiversity of the Green and provide enjoyment and education for the local community. Thank you to the National Park Authority for the grant that made this possible and for their support and guidance throughout the work.’

Over £160,000 in grants were allocated by the SCF in the last financial year, bringing in an additional £176,000 of match funding to the National Park area from other sources.

The SCF is a grants scheme run by the New Forest National Park Authority that helps promote sustainable living and working within the National Park, with grants available for up to 75 per cent of a project’s cost.

This year the fund is looking to support projects that:
  • Provide sustainable transport options, including cycling facilities, to help enable visitors and residents to travel car-free in the New Forest and reduce the impact of traffic. 
  • Conserve the biodiversity of the National Park by supporting local landowners to deliver wildlife conservation improvements aimed at ensuring the landscape stays intact and is resilient against climate change.
To find out more visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/grants.

Before applying for a grant please contact the grants officer on 01590 646634 or email scf@newforestnpa.gov.uk.

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