Wild Ground are delighted to have received funding from Natural Resources Wales to restore an important waterbody at their Aberderfyn nature reserve.

Aberderfyn, near Johnstown, forms part of a former coal mining and mineral extraction site and is part of the Stryt Las a’r Hafod SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) which is included within the Johnstown Newt Sites SAC (Special Area of Conservation). The area is of special interest for its population of great crested newts and other native UK amphibians including smooth newt, palmate newt, common frog and common toad. 

One of the ponds at the reserve wasn’t holding water, and was drying up each year, meaning it did not contribute to the successful breeding of great crested newts,  amphibians and pond wildlife.  

Funding has meant that the Wild Ground team can restore the pond with the aim that it will be made watertight, retain water throughout the year, and help to support the breeding of the area’s GCN population.

Restoration has been a big task involving removing all the previous overgrown vegetation,  installing a watertight liner, and re-profiling the pond margins to help colonisation . Areas of open water in the pond are also being restored through this work, to provide places where male GCN can display to females in the hope of attracting a mate, a behaviour known as ‘lekking’. 

The work is being carried out under licence and was made possible through funding via a Natural Resources Wales Section 16 Management Agreement. It complements a similar project in 2021 when the charity restored one of the other ponds on the site.

The site will be monitored this spring  for great crested newts and other amphibians as part of the ongoing surveillance for the wider Wales GCN monitoring programme.