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A restored open cast mine site is proving a massive hit with feathered friends as well as cyclists and walkers according to the latest survey results.
Well over 100 different bird species have been recorded at Hicks Lodge, which is managed by the Forestry Commission in partnership with The National Forest, including many birds on the decline elsewhere.
Mining was carried out on the Leicestershire site between Ashby de la Zouch and Moira from 1980 to 2000.
Since then it has been transformed into a flourishing beauty-spot with woodland, wetland, ponds and meadows.
Experts from the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society say species recorded include those of 'breeding concern' nationally, such as little ringed plover, redshank, common tern and skylark. Cuckoo, red kite and green and great spotted woodpeckers have also been spotted, along with many kinds of water fowl.
To celebrate the Forestry Commission has worked with the Society on a new information panel on the site to help nature fans identify the ever growing number of species.
"We've also had short-eared owls over-wintering at Hicks Lodge so it really all adds up to a tremendous reward for all the hard work that has gone into transforming the environment and creating a vibrant mix of habitats," said Forestry Commission Area Manager Alan Dowell.
The Hicks Lodge scheme has also made a major contribution to the development of the National Forest. which spans more than 200 square miles (5,200 hectares) across parts of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire and is one of England’s most ambitious environmental projects.
Russell Parry from the Leicestershire and Rutland and Ornithological Society added:
"Our members have been visiting the site more regularly since 2009 and the list of species recorded really is very impressive and shows just what can be achieved by creating the right kind of habitats. We hope to encourage much greater interest and understanding of our wildlife by developing more partnerships with the Forestry Commission and other land owners."
Notes to Editor
- The National Forest aims to create a new Forest for the nation. The gentle undulating landscape is perfect for walking, cycling and horse-riding. Through the creation of new habitats The National Forest is also an ideal location for bird and wildlife watching.
- Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. To find out more got to www.forestry.gov.uk/EastMidlands
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