Amwell Habitat Creation
The Trust has secured funding from Environment Agency and Cadent Gas for a large-scale habitat creation and restoration project in 2018.
Amwell Nature Reserve forms part of the Lea Valley Special Protection Area (SPA) and is internationally important on account of the wintering gadwall, shoveler and bitterns. It also forms part of the Lee Valley Regional Park. In an effort to ensure a fully co-ordinated approach to managing the reserve and surrounding area of the Lea Valley, the Trust is working with a diverse partnership of organisations and landowners on the project. The project also forms part of the Lea Valley Wader Strategy.
Project areas (as detailed by the map)
1. New fencing will be installed around Hollycross Lake and the Dragonfly Trail to enable us to graze this area. We will be grazing old English goats here; they are highly effective at controlling woody vegetation typically browsing on scrub for 50-75% of their feeding time – much more than most other large herbivores. This will help increase the biodiversity of the area.
2. The Trust will be creating a channel between the scrape and the main land to create an island with a pool. An island will offer more protection to vulnerable birds by taking away the risk of predation from land based animals. A pool will offer further habitat for breeding invertebrates and waders.
3. Trees will be felled and areas of scrub removed at selected points around Great Hardmead Lake. The felled trees will provide refuge and spawning habitat for fish which will also benefit the rich birdlife at the reserve and the removal of some scrub will create shorelines rich in vegetation for fish, insects, mammals and birds.
4. Another island will be created for birds near the main viewpoint. The ditch in front of the viewpoint scrape will be re-connected to the lake to form an island. This area will be fenced to enable grazing by pigs. Pigs are fantastic for vegetation regeneration, disturbing and turning the soil as they root for food. Their rooting will create habitats suitable for wading birds to nest and feed
5. A new sluice will be constructed. This will allow us to more effectively control the water levels in Great Hardmead Lake to ensure that we can provide perfect habitats for wintering ducks and breeding and migratory wading birds.