RAGS is delighted to announce the award of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, supplemented by donations from the Mendip Hills AONB, Wessex Water and ARG-UK, to restore 14 great crested newt ponds on the Mendip Hills. The project extends over a year beginning in the Autumn of 2016.
The initial work involves removing silt from the degraded ponds and for this task VOLUNTEERS ARE ESPECIALLY WELCOME. Please contact one of our volunteer coordinators via our Contact Page for details, dates and times of tasks:
All the ponds are artificial constructs up to 200 years old, built from stone. After silt clearance by volunteers a contractor will repair the dilapidated stonework, thus restoring them to their original condition. The ponds come in three types:
Some are circular excavations lined with puddled clay overlaid with cobbles; the other two designs feature some exquisite architecture peculiar to this part of the world. The sides are walled with local stones and are either deep, square excavations with three sides walled and one side sloping gently down to the water, or long, narrow excavations, walled down two sides with either end sloping down to the water.
Great crested newts use all these pond types on the Mendips but many have deteriorated to a serious extent, while others have disappeared altogether, leaving the newts isolated in small pockets, too far distant from one another to allow any interaction. Some of these newt clusters are reliant solely on a single pond for their survival. This project will restore ponds in specific locations to act as stepping stones to recreate interconnected networks of breeding sites and thus help secure the future of this spectacular amphibian on the Mendips.
Please volunteer to help us achieve this goal.
Once the network is restored RAGS will monitor the future use of the renovated ponds by great crested newts and other amphibians. For regular updates on the project’s progress, and to leave comments please visit our Facebook page.