3 November 1995

A fresh look at water

WATERCOURSES should be thought of as "inverted hedgerows". Although they are not as obvious to the eye, they are equally valuable as wildlife reservoirs, says Sally Runham of ADAS Arthur Rickwood.

In areas like Cambs, where they account for more land area than woods, sympathetic management is vital to encourage a wide range of plants, insects and mammals to flourish. Conservation experts can identify areas of particular interest and supply information on how they are best managed.

A wide range of habitats can be provided at little cost, says Mrs Runham. "And surveys will show whether the habitat is flourishing or if a change is needed before it is too late." Grants and free consultancy visits are available.

Sympathetic management of ditches – which should be viewed as "inverted hedgerows" – can benefit wildlife, says Sally Runham (inset).