Sportfish is helping birds, bats, bees, bugs and trout!

There are changes afoot at our Sportfish Game Fishing Centre to create a new and improved site that will enhance the natural environment and benefit the local community.

Kingfisher Pond

Encouraging youngsters to engage with nature conservation and learn about fishing and the wider aquatic environment is challenging and the lack of juniors taking up fishing is a longstanding cause for concern.

To help address the problem, Sportfish has collaborated with the Englefield Estate Trust Corporation Ltd and the Environment Agency to create Kingfisher Pond.

Planted with a diverse range of native aquatic and marginal plants to increase habitat, it is stocked with young trout and is part of the Sportfish tuition scheme that benefits both youngsters learning to fish and those looking to explore the aquatic environment as part of their school curriculum.

Robin Philpott, C.E.O. of Sportfish and Farlows, commented:

“Conservation of our natural environment is a key theme of our time and we are delighted to be working with our partners to deliver such a marvellous new resource here to enhance youngsters‘ understanding of the importance of habitat creation and biodiversity and of safeguarding the environment for future generations.”

Railway Corridor Biodiversity

The creation of Kingfisher Pond was the first step in a long–term site management project being undertaken by project partners: the Englefield Estate Trust Corporation Ltd; Sportfish; Reading Fishing Club and the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE), a charity that raises funds for environmental projects that benefit people and wildlife in Oxfordshire and neighbouring counties.

The project aims to increase the biodiversity value of the whole site via woodland management and native tree and aquatic planting alongside the busy railway corridor, and to create a thriving environment to benefit wildlife, people and the planet – birds, bees, bats, bugs and trout all win!

Clearance of the non–native white alders.

Following clearance of the tall, non–native white poplar trees alongside the railway line, the partners will be planting more than 4,500 native British trees and shrubs over the next three years, including more than 1,000 hawthorns and a similar number of blackthorns, and hundreds of alder, silver birch, cherry, crabapple, holly and rowan trees. They will also be introducing a range of native aquatic and marginal plant species to increase plant diversity and provide surface cover and structured edge habitat on the lakes.

Planting in progress!

Richard Edwards, the Englefield Estate’s Forestry Manager, said: “The Englefield Estate is committed to protecting and investing in the local environment and this project will create a much more biodiverse area, providing a new home for birds and bats and bugs.”

The TOE’s Lynn Parker said:

“Through our local knowledge and network of partners we have been able to help identify, assess, select, fund and monitor projects, such as this one, that most benefit the natural environment and local communities.”

The project is supported by Network Rail‘s Greater West Biodiversity Offset Programme.

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