Farmland often includes a range of non-farmed features, such as ponds and ditches, which have significant benefits for wildlife. Good water quality in these features attracts amphibians, reptiles, birds, dragonflies and other important invertebrates. Seasonally flooded and permanent ditches provide habitats for a range of rare plants and invertebrates, if they have good water quality, as well as acting as wildlife corridors.
Feber and Macdonald (2016) found that the flowering plants along wet ditches provide important foraging for bumblebees, especially in late spring. The true fox-sedge Carex vulpine was regarded as rare and declining in 1998, limited to just a few sites along the River Ray. In 2004/2005 it was discovered at eight new sites along the Ray, and since then has been the subject of careful management by BBOWT and others which has stabilised the population in the area. Research by Feber and Macdonald (2013) suggested that up to 50% of recorded ponds had disappeared from farmland in the Upper Thames region area over the last century.
Organisations offering advice and guidance on:
- creating and monitoring ponds and ditches
- permission to work near watercourses
- invasive species that might be in your ponds and ditches