Herefordshire Amphibian & Reptile Team

Welcome to the H.A.R.T. website

Learn about Amphibians and Reptiles

 

Help to conserve them and their habitats.

 

Herefordshire Amphibian and Reptile Team (HART) is dedicated to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles in Herefordshire. We aim to encourage people to learn about, protect and conserve these animals and their habitats. Our activities include recording the distribution and population size of amphibians and reptiles throughout Herefordshire, conservation work such as pond restoration, workshops and training days, talks and visits, providing advice on pond and habitat conservation and identifying threats to local habitats.

Send us your records

Please send us records of sightings of amphibians and reptiles in the county. Download a form which can be posted or emailed. Alternatively use one of the on-line recording forms on the Records page.

 

 

Pooling Together

A HART and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust Project

New Partnership Project to revive historic ponds across the Bromyard Plateau given go-ahead after winning Biffa Award and Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Herefordshire Amphibian & Reptile Team has partnered with the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust to begin a new project: Pooling Together – Reviving the Wetland Landscape. The project aims to revive the pond landscape across 850 hectares of North-East Herefordshire by restoring 19 ponds on Bromyard Downs, the National Trust’s Brockhampton Estate and Bringsty Common. HWT and HART have an excellent track record of working together to deliver conservation projects, most recently What's That Snake? which ran from 2008 - 2010 and the Ponds and Newts Heritage Network Project 2012 – 2014.

The project is being generously funded by two organisations: Biffa Award, a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK, and a Sharing Heritage grant of £67,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Led by newly recruited Wetland Landscape Project Officer, Jane Cabara, the project will be directed by a Steering Group of representatives from the project partners (HWT and HART) and the relevant landowners - the National Trust, Herefordshire Council, the Bromyard Downs Commons Association and Bringsty Manorial Court.

The project is focused on the Bromyard Plateau landscape, an area stretching from Bromyard in the west to the flanks of the river Teme in the east. At the heart of this landscape are the historic Commons at Bromyard Downs, Bringsty Common and Badley Wood, as well as Brockhampton Estate. This estate is owned by the National Trust and incorporates a Grade II Listed Historic Parkland.

Iain Carter, Countryside Manager at the National Trust has heartily welcomed the collaboration: “This is a fantastic example of what landscape scale conservation work can be achieved when working in partnership and thinking beyond our own boundaries.”

The ponds scattered across the landscape, as well as those which now exist only on old maps, give clues to the area’s agricultural heritage. Some ponds are known to have once being watering stops for the cattle which were moved through old Drover’s routes across this area but as farming systems have changed over time and stock farming has been overtaken by arable, the ponds have largely lost their original agricultural role. Many former ponds have now been lost by infill and ploughing – our survey results show that 62 out of 96 ponds in Bromyard and Brockhampton parishes have been lost since 1880.

Those that remain have been neglected, are silting up and becoming overgrown with trees, which are no longer kept in check by stock grazing. As ponds in the original network disappear, the remaining ponds become increasingly isolated. This makes the wildlife they support more vulnerable to extinction, especially for those species unable to more move very far within the landscape.

This project aims to provide a one-off intervention, by de-silting and renovating these ponds, to reset the successional clock. It will re-instate some of the recently lost ponds, thereby increasing the density of ponds in the project area, improving opportunities for species to move across the landscape. It will leave all the ponds in good condition, so that the project partners can manage them into the future with regular annual management.

The project also aims to showcase the historic, cultural and wildlife value of the ponds within local communities. Local volunteer groups will be trained in surveying and practical conservation skills to enable them to monitor and maintain the ponds and there will be a series of events and workshops running throughout the project for people of all ages to get involved with. The project will also involve local schools and new learning facilities will be created at one pool on the National Trust's Brockhampton Estate with a boardwalk, pond dipping and a covered area for discovering about pondlife. A wetland bioblitz later in the project will provide initial species lists, against which the ponds can be monitored into the future.

Nicholas Hinchliffe, the National Trust’s Ranger at Brockhampton Estate commented: “The restoration of the Grove pool together with a dipping platform and education room will really give me the opportunity to connect with visitors and local people and get them enthused about pond life and the importance of the conservation work we do.”

We have already successfully completed four other major projects in the last ten years:
the Herefordshire Ponds and Newts Project, the Pond Celebration and Restoration Project, the What's That Snake Project. and the Ponds & Newts Heritage Network Project.

Leaflets for each of the ponds restored in the Pond Restoration Project can be downloaded from the Project page.
Click here for reptile leaflets and a reptile resource pack from the What's That Snake? Project.

Amphibians and Reptiles of Herefordshire

BookIn 2006 HART produced a full colour guide to the amphibians and reptiles of the county and their status, based on the results of the three year Ponds and Newts Project and other surveys for reptiles and amphibians.

As well as the species accounts and distribution maps it includes background to the geology of the county, history of ponds and recording in the county, and conservation tips.

Feeding timeWe work closely with Herefordshire Nature Trust, Herefordshire Council, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation and other wildlife societies and groups.

The development of this website has been generously funded by grants from Malvern Hills AONB, Wye Valley AONB and Heritage Lottery Fund:

Malvern Hills AONBWye Valley AONB HLF
Site Map | Accessibility
Email editor@herefordhart.org • © 2008 HART. All rights reserved • Designed by: CJHGRAPHICS