Reed buntings and marsh marigolds are among dozens of species of plants and animals now flourishing in a new protected home on the banks of the River Weaver Navigation near Northwich.
We have created Hartford Wetlands Nature Reserve on the Davenham side of the river, close to the distinctive Blue Bridge which carries the A556 road across the river in north Cheshire.
Trust staff and volunteers from Marshalls Arm, Vale Royal and Crewe Conservation groups have all worked together to construct a public boardwalk, install interpretation and carry out vegetation management at the reserve, which covers an area of several football pitches.
Jointly funded by the Trust and Saltscape Landscape Partnership through the National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Fund, the project will give the public a chance to get up close to frogs, newts, damselflies and other aquatic wildlife who have started to make their home in the new wetland reserve.
Volunteers from the nearby Marshall’s Arm Nature Reserve have formally adopted the site and will lead on improving the wildlife habitat and controlling the vegetation on an ongoing basis.
Jason Watts, volunteer coordinator with the Trust, said: "Hartford Wetlands is a perfect example of what can be achieved when everyone pulls together. Staff have enjoyed working with three different volunteer groups who have brought complementary skills to the project. This area in the Weaver Valley used to be grazed by cattle but had become increasingly submerged in water. Converting the scrubland into a managed wetlands reserve is great for promoting biodiversity on the river and also offers the public a chance to explore the wetlands on the new boardwalk, created out of recycled plastic.
"We are grateful to all the volunteers who have given so generously of their time and effort to create the new wetlands habitat. We’re delighted the Marshall’s Arm group has decided to formally adopt the reserve and will provide ongoing support. Everyone has done a great job."