Newt Networks is funded by the Nature Networks Programme, which is being delivered by the Heritage Fund, on behalf of the Welsh Government.

The project focuses on our Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and our Special Areas of Conservation sites (SAC) which include Stryt Las, Aberderfyn and Brandie Brook in Johnstown Wrexham, Lane End Spon Green in Buckley, Maes y Grug in Alltami, and Glascoed in St Asaph. Sites that are designated for their great crested newt (GCN) populations.

The project will deliver activity across these sites and neighbouring partners’ sites to increase the resilience of this protected network of sites in northeast Wales.

The project will engage the communities local to these sites with the aim of increasing understanding and support for newts and their habitats.  A wide range of enjoyable, accessible engagement activities to suit varied interests, abilities, and access needs will be delivered.

Throughout the life of the project, we will create a range of community engagement opportunities to educate communities on newts and the protected sites network, specifically threats to newts and their habitats. We will work with schools in these areas on their grounds to increase connectivity and create stepping-stones for nature.

These community engagement opportunities will increase the resilience of the protected sites network by educating local communities about important habitats, why we need nature, and how everyone can play a part. The sessions will have a strong ‘hands-on’ element, e.g. pond-dipping, as this is shown to be effective in connecting children with nature, inspiring them to enjoy and want to save it for the future.

We will work with community volunteers on important site management tasks, including woodland/scrub/grassland improvements to aid a range of species and increase connectivity and resilience. Our project officers will work with contractors on additional pond creation at various sites to increase connectivity between these neighbouring sites along with existing pond and ditch restoration. Crucial habitat resilience and connectivity benefits will be achieved through these practical improvements across our SSSIs and SACs.