Great crested newts are the largest and most rare newts found in Britain. Their population has gradually decreased due to loss of habitat. We're lucky to have a good population living and breeding in Dyffryn which we're working to protect.
Great crested newts normally live on land, but breed in ponds and pools. You may have noticed that there's a lot of weed in our ornamental ponds; this is because we cannot disturb the newts' breeding sites.
Once the great crested newts were discovered on site, a programme of habitat enhancement works was undertaken to specifically enhance their habitat as part of the restoration scheme. The new 'newt complex' was funded with grant aid from the Countryside Council for Wales and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The works have included the creation of tunnels under paths with cement 'runs' to guide newts into the tunnel entrances. The tunnels have been put in under footpaths to link the ponds with each other and the adjacent scrub habitat which the newts use for foraging. Footpaths can act as barriers to newts, but these special newt tunnels enable the newts to move freely around the site.
The works also included the construction of a hibernation mound. Pipes are pushed into the mound to provide access routes into it. The newts can travel to the centre of the mound through the pipes and squeeze into the gaps between the rock pieces to hibernate.
We monitor the newt population at various times throughout the year to make sure we're doing all we can to give the newts a safe home.