Protecting our wildlife

The 2021 ecological survey commissioned by Middleton RAG identified four protected great crested newts,
18 smooth newts and a number of rare, endangered bat and bird species in ponds and fields on Ashley Road. Thanks to everyone who donated to the campaign.


Parts of the Welland Valley are classed as a ‘Red Zone’ for Great Crested Newts. However, despite registered sightings, there is very little contemporary data available on the size and health of the local newt population.

The Great Crested Newt is an endangered and listed protected priority species in the UK and is our largest newt, breeding in ponds during the spring and spending the rest of the year feeding on invertebrates in hedgerows, marshes and grasslands. It needs the right habitat to survive and thrive, but these habitats are increasingly under threat through development and climate change.

One of the reasons for this threat is the lack of data on the newt population in areas they are known to inhabit. Without clear evidence, habitats can become vulnerable to development and activities which can disturb breeding and remove the environment they need to survive.

We therefore want to survey, identify and log the population of a 1km stretch of the beautiful Welland Valley, between the villages of Ashley and Middleton. The area has numerous ponds, ancient ridge and furrow fields and hedgerows, and we are keen to start as quickly as we can.  Great Crested Newts have already been seen in the local area recently, and spring to early summer is the best time to survey the ponds where the newts breed.

The survey will be undertaken by an accredited Ecologist and involves detailed surveying and monitoring of a number of ponds over several weeks. Apart from providing invaluable data on Great Crested Newts, the survey will also record any evidence of other important species in the area including otters, badgers, hedgehogs, bats and protected birds. 

This survey is critical to the future protection of these magnificent creatures. Not only will it establish a definitive baseline for the Great Crested Newt population in the Welland Valley, but it will also help us to protect the critical habitat that they and other protected wildlife need to survive.  We have been in touch with The Welland River Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Natural England, ARC and The Wildlife Trust, who are all very keen for us to share our survey results with them.

The more donations we receive the more we will also be able to help with the continued habitat protection of other protected species that we know are living in our beautiful valley. 

Please help us to help these little creatures by supporting this vital work and contribute to our fund.