Finedon wildlife haven takes shape as more than 1,000 trees planted

The nature reserve will have woodland, ponds, grassland and wetland areas

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 10:05 am

Major progress has been made on a project to transform an engineering compound near Finedon, Isham and Burton Latimer into a wildlife habitat with the planting of more than 1,000 saplings.

Network Rail and Amey began developing the area in April after vital electrification work as part of the £1.5billion Midland Main Line upgrade had been completed.

Construction workers had used the compound off Finedon Station Road but, after landscaping work over the past few months, the site is being transformed into a nature reserve.

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Mayor of Wellingborough Cllr Lora Lawman (R) at the tree planting

As well as trees to attract birds, butterflies and bees, the site will contain ponds - which are the right habitat for great crested newts - grassland, wetland areas and open woodland.

Hamish Critchell-Ward, environmental manager for Network Rail's East Midlands route, said: “It’s really exciting to see the difference already - from a heavy engineering site to a tranquil home for nature. I'm so proud of our teams for working together to plant around 1,200 trees.

“The landscaping was carried out earlier this year, but we needed to wait for the change in the weather to give the trees and other vegetation the best chance of survival. I’d like to thank the community for working with us on this innovative project, which is allowing us to explore new ways to balance biodiversity with improvements to the railway."

About 40,000 tonnes of material were moved off the site to allow teams to complete landscaping work in preparation for the new nature reserve.

The Network Rail/ Amey compound off Finedon Station Road

The material which was moved is being used by local businesses and for another work compound, meaning none of it has gone to landfill.

Michael Whitehead, principal environmentalist at Amey Consulting, said: “This Furnace Lane habitat creation scheme will give a wealth of benefits to four hectares of land that would otherwise have been left unused. While favouring great crested newts, the landscaping and tree planting by our willing band of volunteers should encourage a biodiverse range of flora and fauna to thrive on the land for many years to come.”

Cllr Harriet Pentland, North Northamptonshire Council’s executive member for climate and green environment, said: “This is such a great project and it was wonderful to see the progress that has been made onsite since I last visited in August. The planting of 1,000 new trees will have so many biodiversity benefits, including the creation of new habitats and contributing to the sequestration of carbon emissions.”