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View recent newsNew Abington beach to benefit fish, butterflies and pond skaters alike

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Dragonflies, butterflies and newts should shortly be taking up residence along the River Granta when a new “beach” is built at Abington Recreation Ground on Thursday (21 August).

The Abington Shoal Project is set to enhance an already naturally sloping bank on the south side of the slow flowing river to encourage local wildlife to take up residence.

More than 20 tonnes of gravel will be delivered to form a 15 meter shoal which will blend with the existing bank profile and extend it to the centre of the channel to form a stable beach area.

The aim is to marginally speed up the river so it will scour silt from the bottom, and improve conditions for local wildlife.

The project has been initiated by the parish council’s Abington Recreation Ground Committee. Plans were drawn up in consultation with South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Ecology officer, the Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency. South Cambs District Council have provided technical expertise and contributed to the provision of the required gravel materials.

They then approached Cambridge Water for assistance with the project and earth moving machinery was provided at the site to place the gravel.

Project co-ordinator Peter Brunning, said: “It is really exciting to know that within the space of a few hours we will be able to create a new beach that will have benefits for the community and wildlife alike.

“The river is recognised as being a great local amenity and work to create the beach will increase the visual appeal, and allow for safer access during normal and low flow conditions. Creating more of a meander will also assist in raking up silt from the bottom of the river bed, and over time the diversity of local wildlife will improve.”

Dan Clark, Environmental Manager for Cambridge Water, said: “We are delighted to be able to support this project. At Cambridge Water we work hard to ensure we preserve and enhance important natural environments in our area, such as the River Granta. Over the next few years we will be looking for additional projects that increase biodiversity throughout our supply area. It is fantastic that we have been able to support the project by providing machinery to enable to manoeuvre the gravel into place.”

Rob Mungovan, Ecology Officer at South Cambs District Council added, South Cambs DC values partnership working and this project is a great example of how a community can be helped by a range of experts to deliver improvements”.

Work to create the beach will begin at 9am with the machinery arriving on site shortly afterwards. Once the gravel has been manoeuvred into place volunteers from Abington RiverCare, which is supported by the national RiverCare organisation, will be on hand to mould the gravel along the existing bank profile.

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