Wanted: Field with boggy corner for new wildlife pond in Harrogate district
Jun 1, 2023
A wildlife pond created by Wildscapes
A wildlife pond created by Wildscapes.

An environmental organisation is looking for land around the Harrogate district to create a wildlife pond.

Wildscapes community interest company is hoping a landowner with at least 150sq m – equivalent to around 10m by 15m – will come forward to host the project.

The creation of the pond would be funded by Natural England, which works with Wildscapes to improve biodiversity through habitat creation and conservation.

Jordan Porter, pond programme manager for Wildscapes, told the Stray Ferret:

“If someone comes forward with a site, we come and assess the site and meet the landowner.

“We look at the surrounding land usage and test the subsoil. They are natural ponds, not lined ponds, so we have to have quite a good clay content or very high water table in the area.

“If you have a field corner or a patch that’s always wet, that’s a good sign a pond would fill in that area. If it’s farmland, those are often the areas that are the least productive anyway.”

Wildscapes has already created around 250 wildlife ponds across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire, and has begun working in North Yorkshire in the last two years.

The primary aim of the ponds is to encourage great crested newts, a protected species, to colonise.

Mr Porter said once the newts had moved into a pond, it was a good indication other species were thriving in the area.

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After a pond was created, Mr Porter said Wildscapes would maintain it for the next 25 years – though landowners are not obliged to have the pond for the full 25 years.

Fences can be installed, all funded through the scheme, to ensure nearby livestock could not access the area.

Funding for the ponds often comes from housing and other developments, through compensatory requirements when planning permission is granted.

Mr Porter said:

“Whoever is doing the development, the mitigation isn’t their main priority.

“The idea is this is given to us, as an arm of the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, and the money comes to us to use in target areas where those compensation payments came from.

“It goes back into local landowners through the creation of habitats, and we do offer one-off landowner incentives for signing up.

“If they stay in the scheme, there’s a 25-year monitoring and maintenance programme which we deliver.”

Anyone interested in taking part in the scheme can find out if their land is in the target area by using the government’s Magic Map.

Select ‘Land Based Schemes’, then ‘Other Schemes’, then ‘Great Crested Newts Strategic Opportunity Areas’ to see which parts of the Harrogate district are being considered for wildlife ponds.

Alternatively, call Wildscapes on 0114 303 5123 or email [email protected].