Slingshot returns: Wildlife Habitat Destroyed In Slingsby

The village website’s Slingshot feature was launched back in 2014, but it has been a few years now since anyone has been driven to use it to get something off their chest anonymously.


Many residents will know that on the old railway track between Slingsby and Fryton there used to be a lovely little wildlife habitat consisting of a pond/reservoir surrounded by trees and shrubs.  This was home to many types of birds and mammals and made a welcome haven amongst acres of featureless fields. 

This has now been destroyed in the last couple of weeks by the felling of most of the trees (leaving a few spindly specimens) and clearing the undergrowth – just at the time that birds and other animals are nesting.   Whoever is responsible for this act of wanton destruction should be aware that it is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to “take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built”.  It may be inconvenient to farmers wishing to extract the water from the reservoir, but that does not exonerate them from the law.

A concerned Slingsby resident

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  2 comments for “Slingshot returns: Wildlife Habitat Destroyed In Slingsby

  1. Elizabethpopek
    6th May 2019 at 9:12 pm

    I would agree with you Andrew

  2. Jon
    27th April 2019 at 12:13 pm

    We at the village website are very grateful to Councillor and farmer Andrew Wilson of Brickyard farm for setting out clearly the thinking behind this activity. Please read his comment below:

    I feel I ought to clear some fog regarding this post on the Slingshot section of the website.
    The main reason for felling the (mostly Willow) trees around the irrigation catchpit on the railway line was, and still is, public safety, and the safety of my staff. Willow grows at a terrific rate, but lacks strength – observant walkers will of noticed an increased amount of split and fallen trees, many of which, thankfully, landed in the water, rather than in areas used by people.
    There are a few other relevent facts that I should highlight:
    The trees were not ‘wantonly destroyed’ – but felled in accordance with a proper felling licence. We were careful to avoid nesting times, and inspected the site beforehand.
    The resulting wood is to be chipped and used for biomass for heating.
    In a similar fashion to the trees on the green, the taller stumps (as they look now) are pollarded, and will re grow in due course. More new trees will also be planted later this year. The existing Alders and Sycamore trees are safe and in good condition, so it seemed right to leave them standing – they look bare at the moment because they are not yet in leaf, and have less branches due to being shaded by the more prominent Willow.
    The pond will be cleaned out later this year – it is currently quite dirty and anerobic, due to the amount of rotting vegetation in it – this reduces oxygen in the water and makes it less attrative to wildlife, which we’d like to encourage.
    The ditch running alongside the railway line will be reinstated between the railway and catchpit – this is because the pipe currently joining the ditch currently has been damaged by willow roots, and vastly reduced the flow of water – affecting field drains, and a significant outfall from Fryton
    Please be assured that this work is maintenance, which needs to happen periodically, and the longer term benefits to flora and fauna will outweigh any short term disruption or untidiness.
    For any further information, please feel free to get in touch with me, via the usual means.

    Andrew Wilson

    ps – re ‘featureless fields’ – we grow eight different crops of varying types on this farm, and have been involved in various environmental schemes over the years. These include grass margins by watercourses, (no spray zones and grond nesting areas) over wintered stubbles (providing winter food for birds), cover crops (that provide cover, winter food, organic matter, reduce leaching and increase natural fertility)) Ecological focus areas, Habitat area, wetland grass, and some older grass areas due to be enhanced with a wildflower rejuvenation later this year. Diversity is key.

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