Scheme to improve Valley Ponds in Newhaven

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VALLEY Ponds in Newhaven will be transformed into a wildlife haven by leaving grass long which will encourage more insects and wild flowers.

The five ponds are a designated Site of Nature Conservation Interest which harbour frogs, fish, toads, ducks and other water birds.

For many years the grassland was mown short as part of the council’s grounds maintenance contract, but this does not attract wildlife.

So a new project to allow grasses and flowers to grow throughout the summer has been established for the site.

Newhaven Town Council and Lewes District Council are working in partnership together to improve the ponds.

A spokesperson for the town council said: “Throughout the summer months, contractors will mow pathways through the grass, providing access throughout the site, whilst allowing grasses to grow longer away from the pathways.

“This will be of significant benefit to wildlife, encouraging insects such as butterflies, or a variety of wild flowers.”

Small birds nest in the surrounding scrub vegetation and native trees have been planted in several clumps, to the East and West of the ponds.

Tree species include black poplar (a rare tree in Sussex), alder, oak, field maple acer, hazel, and hawthorne.

All trees are native to Sussex, and produce fruit, seed or blossom that will be good for birds or insect life.

There have also been a variety of practical improvements to the site, such as new wooden litter bins, dog bins and life buoys, as well as bulb planting, a safe viewing area and steps providing safe access to the ponds.

Sluice structures between the ponds have also been cleared out to allow free movement of water between ponds.

The spokesperson said: “We would also encourage visitors not to feed the ducks, as this encourages an artificially high population, which pollutes the water and reduces the wildlife value of the ponds.”