Great crested newts are a declining species. There are many different issues that affect them, habitat loss being one of them. Thanks to a collaborative effort between Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC Trust), Royal Porthcawl Golf Club and Bridgend County Borough Council, newts in Bridgend County have scored a victory.
Golf courses are not often associated with wildlife conservation, however in many cases, if sympathetically managed they can rival nature reserves for their conservation value. Ian Kinley, the manager of Royal Porthcawl Golf course, and his team of staff have been striving to restore and create habitat throughout the course to benefit the local wildlife with a little help from ARC Trust and together they are starting to see good results for their efforts.
Amphibians (and great crested newts in particular) require open ponds that receive good levels of light in order to breed successfully. When left unmanaged, willow trees can not only starve a pond of light but the volume of leaf fall decaying in the water also causes the water quality to deteriorate. During November 2014, ARC began the process of restoring ponds at the course including one that was almost completely overgrown with willow.
We returned recently to survey the ponds, having allowed the ponds a full year to recover and develop. We were very pleased to find all three species of newt present. 26 smooth newts, 1 palmate newt and 5 great crested newts were detected utilizing the restored ponds. Having all three species present in a pond is rare and something for the course management to be very proud of. Next, the golf club will be surveying the site for reptile species and focussing on managing the habitats at the course sympathetically for the species present. A great example of productive partnership work.
Post Author : Pete Hill, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation