Habitat improvements at historic Ashfield landmark

IMPROVEMENT works to the grounds and features of Skegby Hall were started this week to boost its potential as a habitat for important plant and bird species.

The first phase of the work will see the dredging of two ponds located in the grounds of the historic building.

This will remove mud, leaf litter and other organic material that has built up in the ponds over the years, reducing their depth and limiting the types of plant and animal species that can use them as a habitat.

Once the dredging is complete, work will start to repair the ponds and the weirs on the stream that feeds them.

Later in the year, management works will be undertaken on a number of selected trees in an area of ancient woodland and a new boundary hedgerow will be planted to provide food and habitat for a variety of wildlife.

Finally, bird and bat boxes are to be put up in the grounds.

The scheme is being led by Ashfield District Council and some of the work will be undertaken by volunteers from Skegby Appreciation Society.

Students from Sutton’s Quarrydale School will also be mucking in, giving the youngsters the chance to find out about jobs in land-based industries.

Council chairman, Coun May Barsby, said: “The project will make real difference to the residents of Ashfield and the biodiversity of the surrounding area.

“People of different ages will get involved and help improve the area for everyone to enjoy.”

The scheme is costing in the region of £40,000 with £31,200 from a grant from The Veolia Environmental Trust’s Landfill Communities Fund and the remainder from the council.

The grounds of Skegby Hall are open to the public all year round and are considered an important part of the network of trails and open spaces throughout Ashfield district.