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Biodiversity at Ryton Pools Country Park to be given a boost thanks to National Highways grant

A few over a lake at Ryton Pools Country Park

Wildlife habitats at Ryton Pools Country Park will soon be improved thanks to £30,000 of funding awarded to Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Dunsmore Living Landscape Partnership.

Part of the ‘Natural Highways & Homes’ project, the majority of the grant will be spent on improving pond edges at Ryton Pools. Due to historic excavation at this former industrial site, the pond margins are not currently suitable for wildlife and nature. This project aims to bring pollinators and native wetland plants to the area.  This will be done by installing 240 meters of coconut matted material, pre-planted with vegetation, over the next two years. 

The funding, awarded through the National Highways’ Network for Nature programme, will also allow the creation of 200m of hedgerows to improve the habitat of a variety of species of invertebrates and small mammals, as well as providing a welcome boost for farmland bird populations such as Yellowhammer, Linnet and Reed Bunting.

The project will also create a marshy area on the edge of a meadow at Ryton Pools, providing a habitat currently not present at the site. The meadow has the potential to support nectar-rich, native wetland plants, which will provide a valuable source of nectar for pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hoverflies. The new wetland will also be of great benefit to breeding dragonflies and damselflies.

The work will support plants that are beneficial to the park’s environment, as well as helping to improve the biodiversity of Warwickshire as a whole.

Ben Coleman, Specialist Habitat Ranger for Warwickshire Country Parks, said: “We are very grateful to our partners at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Dunsmore Living Landscape team for securing this important funding on our behalf.

“The planned projects not only increase carbon capture, but also provide a welcome boost for biodiversity across the site at Ryton Pools, with pond margins and meadows benefitting from a wider range of plants. This will provide the perfect environment to attract pollinators and insects, with associated benefits for wildlife further up the food chain.”

Councillor Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate and Culture at Warwickshire County Council, said: “Ryton Pools Country Park is a real haven for a wide variety of species, from bees to butterflies, moths to millipedes.

“Our team of Specialist Habitat Rangers work hard to create an environment that fosters strong populations of native Warwickshire species of plants, animals and insects. In doing so, they help develop biodiversity which is essential to provide us all with clean air to breathe and food to eat.”

Lucy Hawker, Dunsmore Living Landscape Scheme Manager at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, said: “At a time when our wildlife is under so much threat from climate change and habitat loss, we are extremely pleased to receive this funding from National Highways. It’s great to be building on past achievements with existing partners.”

Published: 13th April 2023