Black Dam Ponds and Crabtree Plantation has been declared a local nature reserve by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to help manage and enhance the site’s special features.
It is the 10th local nature reserve to be declared in Basingstoke and Deane and supports the borough council’s ecological emergency declaration.
Local nature reserves are places with wildlife, floral or geological features that are of special interest locally.
They offer people special opportunities to study or learn about nature or simply enjoy it and are actively managed to care for the natural features that make the site special.
It takes around 18 months to declare a site a local nature reserve and follows work with Natural England and consultation with local interest groups and users.
Black Dam Ponds and Crabtree Plantation was considered because of its chalk grassland, wetland and woodland habitats and their importance to the local community.
The local nature reserve excludes any areas such as play areas and car parks on the site.
People can still use the site for normal for activities such as dog walking, running, and cycling. However, there are times of the year where areas that have ground-nesting birds should be avoided.
Work will also take place to encourage volunteering to help with the site’s management and the use of the site as an educational resource.
Councillor Hayley Eachus, cabinet member for environment and climate action, said: “As a borough, we have declared an ecological emergency ensuring the natural environment is a priority for us as a council and we are working hard with our communities to protect areas for habitat restoration and biodiversity gain.
“We have been exploring sites in the borough from an approved prioritised list and the declaration of Black Dam Ponds and Crabtree means we now have 10 local nature reserves.
“Local nature reserves are one of the ways we can protect and enhance sites of special interest and for this site it is the best way to manage its high biodiversity value, while recognising its importance and promoting local involvement within it.”