Wildlife to flourish thanks to Sheffield nature reserve project

Conditions for wildlife are to be improved thanks to the completion of a year long river restoration project in a popular nature reserve.

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 9:28 am

As part of the project 200 trees were planted by volunteers at Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s Woodhouse Washlands nature reserve.

The works will have a huge impact on local wildlife including improving conditions for fish breeding, creating habitat for wading birds and increasing the breeding opportunities for the protected species great crested newt.

With £34,928 of funding provided by Biffa Award, a multimillion-pound fund awarding grants to communities and environmental projects across the UK, three in-channel berms have been installed in the River Rother to diversify flow in the canalised river, improving habitat for fish breeding.

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Project at at Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s Woodhouse Washlands nature reserve

Project manager, Nabil Abbas from Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust said: "Thanks to funding from Biffa Award, we've been able to make big strides towards restoring the River Rother at Woodhouse Washlands. Following canalisation in the 1950s and decades of heavy industry, the river really was on its knees. The river restoration project has allowed us to put back some of the natural features in the river channel and on its floodplain, helping nature's recovery here on the Rother".

Additionally, two earth bunds on the floodplain have been created to hold back surface water and create shallow pools in winter and spring for waterfowl and wading birds, such as lapwing and snipe.

The riverbanks have been re-graded to prevent erosion and 200 native trees have been planted by volunteers – they will provide food and shelter for breeding birds and will also provide some shading of the river to provide extra resilience against the impacts of climate change.

Over the past year the project has also delivered on the creation of three new ponds for the protected species great crested newt, which already breed on the reserve.

The project has also engaged the local community; installing a new pond dipping platform, running a series of family-friendly wildlife sessions and erecting an information panel for visitors to the nature reserve.

Plan your visit to the nature reserve at www.wildsheffield.com/reserves/woodhouse-washlands/