Combermere receives first farm grant

As part of its work, The Meres and Mosses Landscape Partnership Scheme and Nature Improvement Area has farm grants available to support capital works, advice and training that will improve water quality, wildlife habitats and promote best farming practice.  This work aims to conserve, enhance and restore this internationally important landscape and its rich diversity.

Combermere is a privately owned estate and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which is made up of the main Comber Mere and a smaller mere called Little Mere and both are connected by some bordering broadleaved woodland.  The meres were notified as a SSSI because of their importance as a large wetland habitat and as an important site for birds.  There is also a recognised population of white clawed crayfish (BAP species) in the outflow from Little Mere.

Combermere is the second most important mere in Cheshire for wintering birds and it supports one of the largest heronries in the country.  The mere also provides a home to numerous species of ducks and is a breeding ground for the great-crested grebe.

The wider estate is undergoing a series of changes at present and has produced a Historic Parkland Plan, which is forming the basis for an HLS scheme.  This is introducing changes to the farming structure and this change in land use could potentially impact the adjacent areas of scientific interest; cattle can contribute significantly to diffuse pollution and water pollution issues by poaching and eroding banks along watercourses and by standing and defecating in watercourses affecting wildlife. To prevent this impact, measures such as the fencing off of watercourses and ditches have taken place and alternative water supplies will be provided. This is a big undertaking across the whole estate, so to assist with the works and to ensure the protection of the water quality in Little Mere and the outflow for the white clawed crayfish, a farm grant was awarded for 900 metres of fencing.  

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95% of UK wetlands have vanished over the last 300 years due to drainage and pressures of land use

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