established 1908



RSPB Visit to WADAA Waters 2013

On the 24th September 2013 Winsford Anglers Association were fortunate to be paid a visit
by Jeremy Sutton, the RSPB Officer for Northern England based up in Cumbria. It was hoped
that he would be able to provide some guidance on conservation matters that the club may be
able to use. Overall the day went really well and Jeremy proved to be very knowledgable, not
only about birds but wildlife and plants in general including fish habitat. His background in
countryside and estate management was valuable and constructive, he has experience of
working with other fisheries on conservation issues. Jeremy was impressed with the varied
habitat that we have available and commented that most of it is already suitable and would

only need a few adjustments to improve the quality. A particular favourite of his was the Top
Flash area.
The day began with Steve Lawler and myself meeting Jeremy at Morrisons early on the
Tuesday morning. After the customary greetings and handshakes we proceeded to look along
the Weaver from the National Length to Newbridge taking in both pools. From there we
moved to the Bottom Flash, Top Flash, New Pool and Rookery Pool, any recommendations
for improvement are summarised as follows.

National Pool 2013
The main observation here was the lack of plant variety, it was suggested to include more
plants that produce berries and make a few clearings in the thistle beds for other wild
flowering plants. There are plenty of bushes opposite the salt works that could be used for
taking shoots from. One idea we put forward to Jeremy was the construction of a Sand Martin
bank at the end of the pool which he thought was feasable.
The rough grassland along the Weaver just prior to Newbridge would be a good location for
an owl box, probably situated on the border of the grass and woods.
After some troublesome fish kills on this water a set of floating barley straw islands have
been installed in an attempt to revive the water quality before any more stockings.
No progress yet on the sand martin bank or the plant varieties.

Newbridge pool 2013
The reedbeds can be cut back slightly and channels cut into them, this would serve two
purposes. Firstly any birds that hide away inside the reedbeds may be seen if they venture
into the open channel and secondly the channels also provide a sanctuary for smaller fish.
The undergrowth on the woodland side can be cut right back to the treeline. Similar to
National Pool some thought will be given to constructing a Kingfisher bank at the far end of
the Pool.
This pool has undergone bankside work to widen the fishing areas, and attempts are being made
to reduce the amount of bottom weed that is in this pool to make the fishing easier. The
channels in the reed beds are planned for the future. Swans and Canadian geese alongside
the usual Reed Warblers and Buntings have nested here this year.

Bottom Flash 2013
The only requirement here is management of the reedbeds and possibly the removal of some
overhead branches to allow more sunlight into area along the walkway. It was noticed here
that a tree had started to split which may need some attention in the near future.
Branches overhanging are being removed on a yearly basis. Reeds are being maintained
with the addition of new fishing stages in between them. A new walkway off the main walkway
to the stages is under developement. Tawny owls and Sparrowhawks have nested in the
woods above in the past few years. And a badger set of over 30 years is still being used.

Top Flash 2013
As mentioned previously, Jeremy’s favourite location. He liked the variety of open water and
woodland that provides habitat to a variety of wildlife. Already the trees provide homes for
nesting birds and bats, plus the bankside vegetation is good for other birds, mammals and
insects, particularly dragonflies. Two suggestions will be considered for development here, a
floating island to attract birds such as Terns and a section in the far corner to attract wading
No progress on these as yet.

Newpool 2013
Steve and myself discussed the idea of making a wild flower meadow on a section of the land
around the pool and possibly building a small dipping pond for the local school. We have yet
to approach the school but any further developments will be communicated through this
The dipping pond is now in its third year and starting to mature.Bee hives are
installed upon the far bank, used and maintained by a beekeeper. The wild flower areas
are under development. The silver birch seedlings have been thinned and the pool is
looking great, and repairs to the stream leak have seen a good water flow through
the pool. Jackdaws, Blackcaps and Greater spotted woodpeckers have been
nesting around the pool. Fruiting bushes have been planted in the meadow. And
a regular visitor for the anglers has been a fox cub that has now reached maturity
and raised a family of her own.



To summarise we intend to do the obvious improvements such as introducing bird and bat
boxes to our waters and conserving the natural habitat as best we can. The above ideas will be
taken seriously and implemented as time, effort and funds allow. Jeremy will be passing on
information regarding the artificial Kingfisher and Sand Martin banks in due course. It is
important to note that although we are very keen to promote conservation the intention is not
to spend vast amounts of association funds on these projects. Wherever possible we will be
using readily available natural resources, such as logs and branches to construct bird boxes
New bird and bat boxes have been installed at various venues. Some waters have 'log or
brash piles' left in areas for the wildlife as opposed to the old practice of burning felled timbers.
An owl box has been in place at Newpool for a few years now, alas so far unused.
All in all,
progress is being made and efforts will continue to make WDAA waters some of the best
areas for fishing and wildlife around the area.

As a club we are introducing a long term management plan for development of our waters
which will include conservation as an important element. This is a club for our members so
any suggestions for improvements are most welcome, please feel free to contact myself with ideas. Progress on any development work and it’s effectiveness will be included in reports on our website.
Finally Steve and myself would to thank Jeremy on behalf of WADAA for his time and
assistance on the day. A group mug shot of us at New Pool is attached.

group pic