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Lapwings on your Doorstep

Lapwing Lapwing - Credit Carl Watts

The 'Lapwings on your Doorstep' project helps improve areas of habitat for a number of species including ground nesting birds at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, Doncaster.

Biffa Award awarded Yorkshire Wildlife Trust £24,681 in December 2013 for their ‘Lapwings on your Doorstep’ project which started a number of habitat management activities at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve. The work continues to benefit a range of species, both common and rare, including ground nesting birds, bats and insects. This also increases its value as an important tourist attraction in the South Yorkshire area, boosting the local economy.

Habitat management work on the site has included the development of new grazing areas to improve the grassland, the extension and enhancement of woodland habitat, hedgerow renovation and the putting up of bat boxes around the site. Potteric Carr is incredibly diverse haven for wildlife, right on the edge of Doncaster – about as urban as you can get for a wildlife hotspot and it is hoped that this work will only make it better!

In addition to funding from Biffa Award, funding for some of the work has also been provided through Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme.

Improving the grassland

The grasslands at the east end of the nature reserve continue to be improved to provide the perfect conditions in spring for breeding birds such as lapwing (picture above by Carl Watts) and mammals such as brown hare. This is achieved through conservation grazing, which means a number of fields require new fencing. Grazing also ensures the success of the lowland fen grassland on the nature reserve, a rare habitat type important for many BAP priority species – these are species that have been identified as being the most threatened in the UK.

Creating more woodland

In the part of nature reserve known as Seven Acres Carr an area of wet woodland habitat has already been enlarged, with a mix of both dense woodland stand and open woodland. The open woodland is packed full of possible breeding spots for the rare willow tit, the habitat is also fantastic for insects and woodpeckers which feed on insects burrowing in the dead trees.

Improving the site for bats

The lack of roosting spots for bats has also been addressed by fixing fifteen new bat boxes across the nature reserve, so that species associated with both open water and woodland are catered for. With the roosting sites sorted Potteric Carr should be the ideal place for bats, with its large numbers of insects, midges, mosquitoes and flies providing copious food supplies.

Hedgerow planting

Hedge renovation helps the nature reserve to regain some of its original character, as there would have once been many more hedgerows in the local landscape than we see today. The hedgerows also provide a boundary to the fields whilst providing a home and refuge for many plants and insects, plus benefit bats in acting as a clear marker as they travel in the dark using echo-location.


This suite of work keeps upping the biodiversity value of this already fantastic urban nature reserve. Potteric Carr is a truly remarkable place, just on the edge of Doncaster yet home to an astounding 230 bird species many of which benefit from the work.

The nature reserve is open to visitors seven days a week, and is only closed between the 25th and 28th over the Christmas period so take a trip down there yourself to experience this wildlife oasis right on your doorstep.

Contact

For more information please contact the staff at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve by calling 01302 853941 or email potteric.carr@ywt.org.uk.

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