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West Dorset pond restored to provide safe haven for voles
HELPING HANDS: Environment Agency workers Chris Rowland, Morgs Morgan and Barry Pitman at Allington Pond
Work to restore an overgrown Bridport pond is giving water voles a helping hand.
The Environment Agency has been working on Allington Pond on the River Brit, upstream of the Gundry Weir, to create a new habitat for the fast disappearing animal.
And in future local people are being asked to take on the management of the area and use it as a valuable educational resource as well as a nature conservation tool.
Immortalised as Ratty by Kenneth Grahame in his childrens’ book Wind in the Willows, the water vole is now only found in a tiny fraction of rivers and streams where it was once a common sight. The main reasons for its decline are habitat loss and predation by the American mink.
As well as boosting water vole numbers, the pond will provide a haven for a wide range of wildlife including fish, birds, amphibians, dragonflies and waterside plants.
The new habitat will compensate for the loss of a small area of bank beside Bridport Gundry weir, where the Environment Agency is installing a fish pass to help salmon and sea trout migrate up the River Brit to spawn.
The silted-up pond was originally put in by the Agency in the 1980s as part on a flood alleviation scheme.
It has received virtually no maintenance in the last ten years and is completely overgrown with willow, alder, dogwood and nettles.
The restoration work involves the removal of young trees and scrub, de-silting of the pond, the installation of a silt-trap and creation of an island.
Anyone interested in getting involved as a volunteer to continue the pond maintenance should contact the Environment Agency on 01258 483332.