Small steps bring big boost for wildlife on Peak estate

This is an archived press release

Wednesday 30 March 2005

30 March 2005

Small steps bring big boost for wildlife on Peak estate

The first lapwings for many years have been spotted on a Peak District moorland thanks to special efforts by estate wardens and conservationists.

Five lapwings were sighted on one day below Stanage Edge, part of the Peak District National Park Authority's Stanage/North Lees estate, where upland bird habitats are being regenerated. Hopes are high that the birds will return to nest.

Managing rushes and scraping out shallow pools are just a couple of the measures being carried out by estate wardens Bill Gordon and Flo Richardson with advice from National Park conservationists. Not only lapwings but other threatened species are being helped, such as the curlew, snipe, twite, reed bunting, skylark, linnet and water voles.

Over the past two years, with the agreement of farm tenants, Derby College, Bill and Flo have:

* Fenced off a strip at the edge of a field and seeded it or planted native oaks to provide food and cover for wild birds

* Cut rushes on dry flat areas for lapwing, but let rushes grow in wet areas to attract other waders

* Scraped out pools to provide insect-food for wader chicks

* Planted native rowans and hollies whose berries attract birds such as ring ouzel

* Bashed down bracken to create a wet pasture where wild flowers and insects can flourish or bare ground to be re-planted with heather or grass.

With these simple projects on just three hectares at Stanage they have benefited many species and habitats targeted in the Peak District Biodiversity Action Plan, aimed at revitalising birds, mammals, plants and trees whose populations had been diminishing.

Stanage/North Lees estate manager Matthew Croney said: "It just shows what can be achieved by small scale projects and a bit of dedication."

Peak Birds Project officer Chris Tomson said: "I am delighted to see such positive results from the work that Bill and Flo have done at Stanage. It is a credit to their tireless enthusiasm that the lapwings have come back.

"I welcome the sowing of wild bird cover and tree planting - the tree planting will benefit migrant birds such as ring ouzels and winter thrushes that feed on berries and the wild bird crop will suit resident species such as reed buntings, linnets, goldfinches and hopefully twite.

"This is a shining example of how small scale projects deliver huge benefits for wildlife."

This is an archived press release

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