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The Beeches Local Nature Reserve
Restoration of former Beeches Hospital and associated residential development.
The annual surveying of newts occurs in April – June and will be repeated every year until 2023, this works has been funded by Shropshire Homes. Additional works are planned to provide some footpath improvements including the entrances to the site which get very muddy in the winter and to carry out some habitat improvement works.
The Ironbridge Meadows and Pastures Group (IMAP) Shropshire Homes
The restoration of the former Beeches hospital and the associated new build residential development is currently underway by Shropshire Homes. This development site is immediately to the north of the Beeches Local Nature Reserve, a site owned by Telford & Wrekin Council and designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) for its valuable species rich meadow habitats with a mosaic of scrub and a restored pond. The site supports Great crested newts, smooth newts, frogs and toads, slow worms and grass snakes as well as a range of breeding bird species and a wide assemblage of butterflies and other invertebrates.
The development was required to provide a financial contribution to the management of the LNR which will be used to monitor the great crested newt population in the pond and to provide infrastructure around the site to protect the valuable habitats present from the potential rise in recreational pressure which arises from new dwellings close by.
The pond was restored in 2016 (with funding secured by IMAP from Veolia) to re-establish open water and remove the aquatic vegetation which was drying out the pond. The pond is now in excellent condition with a medium population of great crested newts present (20 individuals were recorded on a single survey visit in April) and the high quality terrestrial habitats present provide safe places for foraging and hibernating amphibians and reptiles.
In 2019 the pond was surveyed for great crested newts led by one of biT's Ecologists supported by a number of the volunteers. Six survey visits were made with ‘bottle trapping’ and surveys by torchlight being undertaken. This generated local media interest with Radio Shropshire attending to discuss the amphibians present at the site.
Jackie Bletcher, the chair of the Ironbridge Meadows and Pastures Group said “It has been great fun as a volunteer, to help with the newt surveys this year, learning from the experts how to correctly identify the different species and getting up close to the wildlife we are working hard to help and protect."
What Our Stakeholders Say:
"We are really pleased to have worked with biT who have delivered both the ongoing newt monitoring and the Landscape Management Plan for our site at The Beeches. Fran Lancaster has been very helpful and professional and we look forward to working together in the future on this and other projects."
What Our Team Thinks:
"The Local Nature Reserve at The Beeches is an incredibly special site and certainly one of my favourite sites in Telford. To find so much diversity in terms of both habitats and species within such a small site is amazing and it is easy to see why the site is so valued by local residents and volunteer members of the friends of group. This coming winter biT's ecologists will be working with the volunteers to develop the next 5 year management plan for the site which will set out how the future of this beautiful and diverse site will be secured."