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Scarborough wetlands being restored
A digger levelling out spoil from a newly dug wader scrape at Potter Brompton Carr. Copyright: Tim Burkenshaw
The project should improve the habitat for wading birds

A number of farms near Scarborough will be seeing intense activity this autumn as part of a special scheme to restore the wetland landscape.

The project will create special feeding areas for wading birds and structures to control ditch water levels.

The work is planned and funded through Higher Level Stewardship agreements, which reward landowners who create habitats that encourage wildlife.

It is hoped that the work will provide the perfect habitats for wading birds.

The project is a partnership between Scarborough Borough Council, Natural England, the Environment Agency, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and North Yorkshire County Council.

Scarborough Borough Council Wetland Project Officer Tim Burkinshaw explained what the project involved:

"Excavators will be working on at least four different farms, creating shallow scrapes in grassland fields which will hold some water for part of the year.

"The idea is to improve habitats for waders which feed their chicks in the shallows and muddy shoreline and to make the area a magnet for wading birds.

'Fascinating project'

Wader scrapes are designed to mimic natural hollows and hold water from March to June. Copyright: Tim Burkinshaw
The scrapes being created will hold water for several months of the year

Farmer Andrew Wrigley, the Higher Level Stewardship agreement holder at Potter Brompton Farms Ltd said:

"It has been a fascinating project. Working with the Wetland Project has allowed us to see how farming and wildlife conservation can not just co-exist, but also flourish alongside each other.

"We feel we are making a real difference to the wildlife habitats on the land we farm, but ultimately the birds will vote with their feet, so fingers crossed that next spring we will see a bumper crop of wader chicks."

Oldest house

There is also archaeological involvement due to the historical significance of Star Carr land, where Britain's oldest house was recently unearthed.

Tim Burkinshaw said that archaeologists were observing all the excavation work to record anything that was uncovered.

"We've taken great care to locate the scrapes away from any historical sites."

Experts believe that Stone Age people were able to travel about the wetland areas, as finds have been made in areas that were once islands in the Mesolithic lake.

The recent excavations at Star Carr have focussed public attention on the valley.

Star Carr was discovered by chance in 1947 and is one of very few Early Mesolithic sites known in Britain.

Its importance is based on the exceptional survival of organic materials like bone, antler, timber and environmental evidence preserved in the permanently wet peat.




SEE ALSO
Archaeologists dig 'oldest house'
13 Aug 10 |  Education & Family

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