Newts set for return to Shepreth

PUBLISHED: 19:20 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:46 11 May 2010

CLEAN UP: Work starts on clearing out a pond at Docwra's meadow

CLEAN UP: Work starts on clearing out a pond at Docwra's meadow

GREAT crested newts could be breeding successfully in Shepreth in the coming months after a conser-vation area was cleaned up. The newts, which have become a protected species due to the decline in their population across Europe, inhabit the pond at Docwr

GREAT crested newts could be breeding successfully in Shepreth in the coming months after a conser-vation area was cleaned up.

The newts, which have become a protected species due to the decline in their population across Europe, inhabit the pond at Docwra's meadow, Shepreth.

In recent years the pond has become overgrown, meaning that it dries up in the summer months.

This has caused a lot of the young newts, which cannot survive out of the water, to perish.

However, work by the Friends of the River Shep conservation group has seen brambles cut back, and several decades worth of accumulated silt removed.

It is hoped the newts will now flourish.

The restoration of the pond was funded by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Biodiversity Part-nership and South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Rob Mungovan, ecology officer at the district council, said: "The conservation of this population of newts is important as the species can act as an indicator of the general health of the local environment.

"As well as a breeding pond, newts need suitable feeding grounds, and this is also provided by Docwra's Meadow."

The Friends of the River Shep have also created a large log pile to act as a hibernation site for the newts.

Other improvements at the meadow include the addition of nest boxes and bird boxes, while the group have also planted wild flowers, undertaken hay cuts, and attempted to control the growth of nettles.

Friends chairman Jenny Ravenhill said "We are extremely grateful to the Biodiversity Partnership and the district council for the grant that has allowed the groups' volunteers to get involved in management tasks in the meadow.

"The site provides an important green space in the heart of Shepreth for villagers to enjoy," she said.

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