Work within the parish to protect and create wildlife habitats takes a variety of forms.
Protection of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Newball wood forms part of the ancient Lincolnshire Limewood which once stretched from Lincoln to Woodhall Spa. Only remnants of this important wildlife habitat now remain, Newball being a fine example. The Woodside Falconry and Conservation centre sits on the edge of the woodland which is managed by the Forestry Commission.
In recent years the Forestry Commission have provided grants to extend the woodland and provide wildlife corridors for the movement of deer and other species. Native Doormice have been recently introduced and a wide variety of rare birds breed in the woodlands, including Hobby, Nightingale, Buzzard and a number of the rarer Warblers.
Creation of New Habitats
Individual projects on a smaller scale to create new habitats for wildlife have also been initiated in recent years.
One such project is the creation of open water, wildlife meadows and woodland at Stainton. This project took 35 acres of arable farmland out of agricultural use to create new woodland (3,000 Oak and Lincolnshire Lime have been planted), grassland and a scrape for wading birds.
The site was specifically aimed at attracting rare birds back to the area and has been highly successful with both Lapwing and Skylark breeding in significant numbers. The hedgerows have been “laid” using traditional methods and both Linnet and Yellowhammers breed in these restored field boundaries.
No pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers have been used on the site now for some 3 years and the meadow is increasing in diversity with herbs and wildflowers, such as Rattle and Ox-eye Daisy, increasing in density as the grasses recede on the denuded soil.
During a recent ringing exercise to look at breeding owls with the RSPB we identified 3 nest sites with a total of 8 Barn Owl and 2 Little Owl chicks.
A permissive footpath allows local residents to access the site and view various species of plants and animals which it has attracted.