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Space for wildlife at Doncaster’s top spot for native wildlife sees big expansion

Tuesday 13th October 2015

Great crested newt on new extension at Potteric CarrGreat crested newt on new extension at Potteric Carr - Credit Jim Horsfall

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is celebrating the completion of major works to increase habitat for wildlife at its flagship nature reserve in Doncaster, Potteric Carr.

Recent funding has allowed the Wildlife Trust to extend the existing nature reserve, taking on two new pieces of land in June 2015: Loversall Carr and the adjacent Beeston Plantation. This extension has meant the nature reserve now extends to an impressive 250 hectares of habitat for the many birds, mammals, plants and insects that take refuge here.

As soon as the land was under Wildlife Trust management, work started immediately to get the area seeded ready for flowering next year. The seed used was all harvested from three flower-rich Coronation Meadow sites in the Doncaster area to ensure the introduction of local, native flowers that would be well suited to the area, with some of the funding for the project provided by BIFFA Award’s Coronation Meadows project, which is working to restore wildflower meadows across the country.

Funding has also been provided by also WREN’s FCC Biodiversity Action Fund. Wren is a not-for-profit business which awards grants for community, biodiversity and heritage projects from funds donated by FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund.

The new 40-hectare extension is roughly split equally between ex-arable fields and woodland. Before the planting began, a number of ponds and shallow scrapes were dug out with the aim of creating a large area of seasonal winter flooding and areas of grassland to attract wintering wading birds such as sandpipers and ground nesting birds like lapwings. It is hoped the new landscape will also increase the numbers of grass snake and great crested newt already using the nature reserve.

A new water control structure has also been constructed to block an old agricultural drain and this will allow the fields to flood in autumn and winter but draw down over the spring and summer. It is hoped this seasonal flooding will help increase the number of bird species already on Potteric Carr Nature Reserve.

We hope that this new extension will attract even more species by the end of 2015.

Jim Horsfall, Reserve Officer at the Trust, who has been overseeing the work said:
“Wildlife at Potteric Carr has really been booming over the last couple of years, with 64 species of bird thought to have bred, or attempted to breed this year and a total of 159 bird species spotted on site in 2014. We hope that this new extension will attract even more species by the end of 2015, meaning it will not only be good for wildlife with more habitat to make the most of, but also for visitors who will have much more to see!

“Thanks must go to WREN’s FCC Biodiversity Action Fund and Biffa Award for the support they have given this project.”

The final touches are now being put in, with livestock fencing still to install and a footpath to construct through the woodland. When fully completed, Potteric Carr will prove even more of a wildlife hotspot for the local community in the Doncaster area to enjoy.

In addition to WREN Biodiversity Action Fund and Biffa Award, funding has also been awarded through Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme.

Find out more about Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, or directions to visit here.

Tagged with: Living Landscapes, Biffa Award, Coronation Meadows, Doncaster Nature Reserve, Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, WREN FCC Biodiversity Action Fund