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Great crested newts cause excitement
A SILTED-UP pond next to the proposed new community centre in Whiteparish is home to a small colony of great crested newts.
The discovery has caused excitement in the village and a survey has identified the next steps needed to restore the pond. A Wessex Watermark Award of £450 will help pay for the hire of a long-reach excavator to remove silt and debris from the bottom of the pond.
The pond is the result of clay extraction in the early 20th century and lies in the Memorial Ground, so called because the site was purchased from half-crowns collected at the end of the Second World War.
The parish council arranged for the pond to be surveyed, which resulted in the discovery of the small colony of newts and is now thinking about how to make not only the pond but the surrounding area a better habitat for the newts to breed and mature in.
Parish councillor Linda Palmer said: “We need to create not only a water habitat for the newts but a terrestrial habitat too.“This means planting native, low-growing shrubs around the pond area. We will also build six hibernacula (land-based shelters) as there are so few suitable frost-free sites for the newts to hibernate in. Obviously the costs have mounted, as this is no ordinary pond restoration, so everyone involved with this project is delighted that Wessex Water is supporting our efforts to restore the pond and encourage Whiteparish’s great crested newt colony.”
The Watermark Award provides funds for environmental projects within the Wessex Water area. Now in its 19th year, it has supported more than 800 environmental initiatives. Organised by The Conservation Foundation, all projects are judged by a panel chaired by president David Bellamy.