Melbourn's haven for wildlife

PUBLISHED: 10:00 06 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:59 11 May 2010

ROB MUNGOVAN with volunteers at Stockbridge Meadow Riverside Park.

ROB MUNGOVAN with volunteers at Stockbridge Meadow Riverside Park.

A NEW home for lizards, snakes, and butterflies has been created in Melbourn. Residents came together with members of the Cambridge Conservation Volunteers society, and Rob Mungovan, South Cambridgeshire District Council s ecology officer, to put the fini

A NEW home for lizards, snakes, and butterflies has been created in Melbourn.

Residents came together with members of the Cambridge Conservation Volunteers society, and Rob Mungovan, South Cambridgeshire District Council's ecology officer, to put the finishing touches to the Stockbridge Meadow Riverside Park.

The 13-acre site was recently handed over to Melbourn Parish Council by developers, and provides a mix of habitats, including meadows, ponds, scrub, and orchards, that are home to lizards, grass snakes, and butterflies.

It is believed that the rare water vole may still be present among the reeds of the River Mel, which runs beside the park.

Cllr Donald Mowatt, Chairman of the parish council, said: "Many areas like this have been lost or tidied up to the extent that the countryside feel of villages is being lost.

"Orchards and meadows were once commonplace across South Cambridgeshire, especially in Melbourn.

"This park will make an exciting addition to Melbourn's open spaces, while also helping to restore important habitats that have been lost in recent years."

Work on the site included grass cutting to sustain wildflowers, pond clearance, and building nest boxes and log piles.

Scrub has been cut back to prevent shading and dumped rubbish has been removed.

Mixes of traditional and new variety plum, apple and pear trees have also been planted in the orchard.

Cllr Nick Wright, the district council's planning portfolio holder, said: "We are committed to providing a voice for rural life. Working closely with parish councils and local groups to protect existing communities, villages and the countryside is one way in which we are improving our rural services.

"Sites like Stockbridge Meadows are important for residents, giving them the opportunity to appreciate and become involved in conservation work and encouraging communities to socialise."

Stockbridge Meadow can be found off Dolphin Lane in Melbourn.

Recently, the parish council threatened to ban dog walkers from the site after a number of complaints about dog fouling.

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