Schools and community groups are thrilled after Tarmac’s Blashford Quarry donated five tonnes of sand to restore an educational dipping pond and maintain sand martin nesting grounds at Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve in Hampshire.
Run by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve is a haven for wildlife and accessible to a wide range of people of all ages, with pond dipping the most popular educational activity at the reserve.
The pond, which was damaged by reeds and could no longer hold water, previously teemed with wildlife, including breeding newts, water stick insects, grass snakes and soldierflies.
Relined last month following the donation, the pond is once again expected to provide a home to lots of different wildlife, having already seen the arrival of beetles, a newt and a pair of mallards.
Supporting one of the most substantial sand martin colonies in Hampshire, the donation has also enabled the much-needed restoration of over 140 tunnels that the birds use for nesting.
Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve’s woodlands, lakes and grasslands are known to attract a plethora of wild birds such as redpolls, bitterns, bramblings and kingfishers. The site is also home to one of three Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust education centres, which is a vital asset in helping to engage people with wildlife.
Michelle Duma, corporate partnerships manager at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said: “Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust are incredibly grateful for Tarmac’s generous donation of sand, which has allowed us to restore the hugely popular purpose-built dipping pond at our Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve.
“Tarmac’s help means we can once again offer the local community the chance to get closer to local wildlife and inspire the next generation of nature lovers through fun and educational pond dipping.
“The donated sand also allowed us to refill the dedicated sand martin bank at the reserve, which supports one of the most substantial sand martin colonies in Hampshire with vital nest holes.”
Richard Bedford, unit manager at Tarmac’s Blashford Quarry, said: “We are delighted to help our neighbours at Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve with this donation. It’s important to help our local community, especially when they’re delivering vital work to help wildlife and biodiversity while at the same time educating the public about the benefits of the environment and the need to protect it.”
Picture copyright Bob Chapman