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Great crested newtGreat Crested Newts

The Great Crested Newt is a priority species in the Vale Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP).

 

It is also a priority species for conservation in the UK, Wales and Europe and is protected by both UK and European wildlife law.

 

There has been a significant decline in the numbers of great crested newts over the last 50 years. This is thought to be mainly due to a loss of suitable ponds for them to breed in. Action is needed if we are to safeguard the future of this internationally threatened species.

 

Much positive work has been undertaken for Great Crested Newts across the Vale of Glamorgan, putting the actions set out in the LBAP into place. 

 

Cosmeston-Lakes-Country-Park

Cosmeston Lakes Country Park Pond Creation

At Cosmeston Lakes Country Park a pond creation project for Great Crested Newts has taken place. In 2003/4 Cosmeston Lakes Country Park re-established three ponds on the Cosmeston site with the help of a grant from FROGLIFE.

 

The new ponds were constructed to create more breeding habitat for the Great Crested Newts on site. We hope that as the other ponds become fully established, Great Crested Newts will move in and the Cosmeston population will expand even further.

Newt Tunnel at Dyffryn

Dyffryn Gardens Newt Complex

During the restoration work in the Gardens, Great Crested Newts were found to be present and breeding in the pools above the waterfall area.

 

Habitat enhancement works were undertaken to specifically enhance the habitat for the Great Crested Newts as part of the restoration scheme.

 

The new "newt complex" has been funded with grant aid from the Countryside Council for Wales and the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

 

Tunnels: Creation of tunnels under paths with cement "runs" to guide newts into the tunnel entrances. The tunnels have been put in under footpaths to link up the ponds to each other and to the adjacent scrub habitat which the newts use for foraging. Footpaths can act as barriers to newts, but these special newt tunnels enable the newts to move freely around the site.

 

Hibernation Mound: Construction of a hibernation mound. The mound is made up of lots of rough cut rock pieces with gaps in between. Pipes are pushed into the mound to provide access routes into it. The newts can travel into the centre of the mound through the pipes and squeeze into the gaps between the rock pieces to hibernate.

Pond restoration work

Pond Enhancement Work

The Vale of Glamorgan Pond survey highlighted a number of important Great Crested Newt ponds, some of these ponds were in need of management/restoration work to ensure that conditions remained favourable for Great Crested Newt breeding.

 

The work, which involved major vegetation clearance to create more open water for the Great Crested Newts, was funded by the Environment Agency and was carried out under licence by the Council's Ecology and Glamorgan Heritage Coast teams and amphibian surveyor Stephen Lowe.

Drain modifications

Safer Drains Project

A Local Authority owned pond in the Vale of Glamorgan is home to South Wales’ largest population of great crested newt.

 

The newts need a terrestrial habitat to hunt for invertebrate prey and shelter during cold or very dry times of the year. To access these sites, the newts needed to cross a road near the pond where they would unwittingly fall into the drains set tight against the kerb.

 

Vale Voluntary Great Crested Newt Surveyor, Stephen Lowe, reported that hundreds of newts were being trapped in the drains each year where they were unable to escape. A program of rescues was immediately undertaken by the pond survey team to find the extent of the problem.

 

In 2005, the Council’s Highways Division and Ecology Team began work to move the drains away from the kerb: leaving a little ledge for the newts to walk along. The scheme was match-funded by the Countryside Council for Wales.

 

The modifications are now complete and survey results from 2006 suggest that the kerb changes have been a success: only 65 newts were found in the drains compared to 318 before work began. 

 

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