Part of the Paxton Pits complex is a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). A Management Plan has identified the species which the Pits could or does attract, and sets out how the Reserve will be managed for them.
Managing the Pits: Who’s responsible and who’s involved?
Huntingdonshire District Council’s Countryside Services is responsible for the Reserve. The Reserve’s Ranger manages the Reserve according to the Management Agreement under the terms of the Local Nature Reserve (LNR) designation (1988). The Agreement originally involved two companies, (the companies now called Aggregate Industries and Lafarge Redland Aggregates), but in 1994 the District Council purchased the part of the Reserve owned by Aggregate Industries.
The Ranger is advised by the Management Group, which includes local experts, Natural England, landowners within the LNR, The Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve, the Volunteer Warden Coordinator and the two companies. A User Group with a wider constituency also provides feedback and advice to the District Council.
A Management Plan guides the management of the Reserve; a copy is available at the Visitor Centre.
What’s the aim of management?
The overall aim for the Paxton Pits area is to safeguard and enhance the value of the area for wildlife and for people.
The objective of habitat management is to retain and develop the mosaic of habitats within the SSSI and surrounding area and specifically to encourage wetland, sand and gravel, and scrub and woody vegetation habitats which are of most significance for biodiversity, both on a local and national scale.
Who does the work?
Funded by Huntingdonshire District Council, the Ranger carries out the core of the work, with much assistance from volunteers: the Volunteer Warden Scheme, The Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve and RSPB Working Parties, mid-week volunteers, BTCV, etc. The Friends also provides funds for specific projects.
Habitat management stops during the breeding and growing seasons (March to September), though the rangers keep paths clear and mow vigorous growth during midsummer. This is the time to repair fencing, waymarkers and platforms. It’s also the time to gather information about breeding wildlife.