Sand Martins migrating to the Tame Valley now have a new custom made hotel at Tameside Local Nature Reserve, Tamworth a site owned by Tamworth Borough Council and managed by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Tameside Wildlife Conservation Group
The artificial sand martin bank was built in February 2017 and will provide a valuable home to this summer visiting bird that migrates from parts of Africa, to breed in the UK. Sand Martins like to nest in river banks and create burrows that can be as deep as 1m. However, the unforgiving River Tame rises quickly during summer storm events and this floods the natural nest sites in the river bank.
This vulnerable species now has a new home installed on the edge of the floodplain, with the nest burrow entrances above the flood levels ensuring that our feathered friends have every opportunity to successfully breed and raise their young without the risk of being flooded.
We still have some landscaping work to do but the Sand Martin Hotel is ready and waiting for its first springtime guests to burrow in!
During January 2017, contractors working for Tame Valley Wetlands restored 170m of native hedgerow using traditional methods at Whitacre Heath SSSI, a site owned and managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.
The hedgerow which has been laid had not been managed and was slowly turning into a line of trees. A well managed hedge should be thick and bushy at the bottom, creating a perfect natural barrier for livestock enclosure. By laying the hedge now, we will avoid having to coppice it to the ground in the future.
Other benefits include:-
Livestock can take shelter behind the hedgerow
It becomes an important haven for wildlife, connecting habitats along a linear corridor
It is a defining feature of the Warwickshire countryside and provides heritage value
A laid hedge will re-grow thicker and will have a longer life span than an un-managed hedge
This also increases biodiversity along the hedgerow
Consent from Natural England was granted to lay the hedge and also burn any brash created from the work.
Take a look at the before and after photographs using the slider to see the improvements made.
Rivers and their connected floodplains are nature’s natural flood defence. This animated film is a great tool to use to illustrate how re-naturalising rivers can make a massive difference in reducing flood risk while being better for biodiversity and the environment. Think… Slow the Flow!