RSPB Saltholme is embarking on an exciting project to revitalise parts of the reserve, improving the visitor experience and enhancing the wonderful wildlife spectacle.
A £330,000 grant from the Teesside Environmental Trust, the RSPB’s long-term partners at the reserve, is helping to fund the works.
Starting this month, the wildlife and discovery park, near Stockton, is having three of its wildlife viewing structures refurbished, pools re-landscaped, and a new dragonfly boardwalk installed, which will weave visitors through meadow and grassland.
There are also plans to create three new scrapes and construct a brand new viewing pod.
Dr Therese Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defra, visited Saltholme and saw some of the work underway at the Wildlife Watchpoint, one of the structures being updated.
Saltholme’s site manager Dave Braithwaite – pictured (above, right) with Coffey and TET’s David Kitchin – said: “We’re all very excited about the changes coming to the reserve. The improvements will not only make the wildlife viewing spectacle even better than it already is, but also improve the surroundings for birds and other wildlife.”
Coffey added: “It is wonderful to see reserves like Saltholme bringing people even closer to nature and the rare species that come here.
“I want to thank the RSPB team, the Teesside Environmental Trust and their volunteers for their hard work creating this project which I’m sure will be enjoyed by adults and children alike.”
The first two hides to be updated – Paddy’s and Wildlife Watchpoint – are expected to be completed by the end of March, in time for the busy Easter season. Saltholme Pool’s hide, and the pools surrounding it, will be upgraded during the summer.
The planned re-landscaping and creation of new scrapes has been designed to improve the habitat for some of Saltholme’s rarer species, but will also provide more opportunities for visitors to see them close up.
Braithwaite added: “We’re extremely grateful to TET for providing this funding, without which, these improvements wouldn’t be possible.
“We’re not expecting any of the works to have a significant impact on the wildlife visiting the reserve, so would encourage everyone to continue visiting and take a sneak peek at the works as they unfold.”
The full programme of works will take three years to complete. There may be some disruption in the short term, but measures will be put in place to ensure this is kept to a minimum.