Thursday, 26 April 2012

New wetland being created near Salisbury

Mass reed plantathon brings bird sanctuary closer to completion

April 2012. Staff at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have turned out in force to breathe life into the new wetland being created at Langford Lakes nature reserve near Salisbury. They put their backs into planting 3,000 reed plugs into the banks of the newly dug water channels that are transforming a field into a rustling reed bed for birds and other wildlife.

Two complex trench systems, a large pool and numerous scrapes (areas of shallow water and marshland) have been dug into the 25-acre field to add a spectacular variety of habitats to what is already an important centre for resident and migratory birds.

30,000 reeds
While staff made great progress towards planting the 30,000 reeds that are needed to complete the project, there is still a long way to go and volunteer parties are turning out in all weathers to do their bit too. 

"You will be able to return in years to come and get great satisfaction from seeing the reeds swaying in the breeze, thronging with wetland bird species such as the reed warbler," says Chris.

"The reeds we are planting are common reed, which will develop over the years into an expansive reed bed."

Once grown as a resource for roof thatching, reed beds are dying out along with the industry that helped them flourish. As they disappear, so too does the wildlife that lives in them. Reed beds are now in included in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (a blueprint for restoring wildlife) as a priority habitat, so it is vitally important to expand them wherever suitable.

Wetland will open in September
This is a good time to visit Langford Lakes nature reserve to see a variety of breeding waterfowl, as well as warblers in the surrounding trees and scrub. The wetland will open to the public on September 8th from 10am-4pm.

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