The Woodland Trust has completed a £6,770 project to improve the quality of two ponds within Chickerell Downs Wood near Weymouth.

The work on the ponds, which are important habitat for a local colony of great crested newts, was funded by a grant from environmental funder, SITA Trust.

The work, carried out during January and February, involved a number of processes which will provide a more suitable habitat for the great crested newts. This included the removal of leaf litter and pondweed, coppicing of overhanging trees, cutting back bramble on the edge of the ponds and creating a break in the reed bed to provide a suitable breeding area.

Jon Burgess, Woodland Trust site manager said: “As a woodland conservation charity one of our key aims is to ensure that woods in our care can provide the best possible habitats for native wildlife.

“Thanks the funding from SITA Trust we have been able to do exactly that for this colony of great crested newts.

“Although people may think that newts only live in ponds they will actually spend most of their lives on dry land hibernating and so the woodland areas of Chickerell surrounding the ponds provide perfect habitat for this protected species.”

Since the Woodland Trust acquired Chickerell Downs in 1990 it has retained key features of the site, such as wet woodland and ponds, and enhanced its biodiversity value by planting additional trees to compliment existing woodland. The site now forms an important mosaic of habitats including woodland, rough grassland, wet flushes and ponds.