Severn Trent’s Mansfield project team volunteer at Spa Ponds Nature Reserve

Monday 27 March 2023

Four of Severn Trent’s Green Recovery team rolled up their sleeves to clear leaves and debris from a nature reserve in Mansfield.

The volunteering day took place at Spa Ponds Nature Reserve in the town – a site looked after by Forest Town Nature Conservation Group, who recently secured a £45,000 grant from Severn Trent’s Community Fund for a project to improve water quality, biodiversity and signage at the reserve.

The Severn Trent volunteers were joined by nine volunteers from Galliford Try, who have been working with Severn Trent in a £76 million project to install sustainable drainage systems across Mansfield, to help protect against flooding in the town. The project recently hit its first key milestone, with the first rain garden in the town centre being completed in February.

As well as clearing leaves and debris to make way for the planting of acid grasses and wildflowers at the nature reserve, the 13 volunteers worked together to remove holly, small bushes and other vegetation to provide light and resources for natural hedging. They also help construct some dead hedging - an upright structure of woody cuttings woven between vertical stakes that provide a perfect hideaway for birds to nest and forage within.

The work will benefit visitors and wildlife by preventing pollution reaching the ponds and by making the footpaths around the site easier to use.

The volunteering days are part of Severn Trent’s community champions scheme, established in 2017, which allows every member of staff to spend two working days a year doing voluntary work and further supports the company’s Get River Positive commitments.  

Helen Purdy, from Severn Trent, who volunteered on the day, said: “We had a wonderful day at what is such a special site at the Spa Ponds Nature Reserve. The team at Forest Town Nature Conservation Group have made such a difference to the area and it was nice to play a small part in helping improve the site further.

“It was great to use our community champions days to make a difference in the community and join Galliford Try in getting away from the office as a team and having some fun.”

David Palmer, from Galliford Try who also volunteered at the reserve, said: “I have lived in and around the Mansfield area all my life and the Spa Ponds nature reserve was an area in which I spent much of my childhood. When I heard about the Conservation Group and the work they have been doing I’ve kept a keen eye on their progress and I appreciate the efforts they’ve gone to reviving this local beauty spot.”

The Nature Reserve consists of several hectares of oak-birch woodland alongside wetland areas and several waterbodies, including four spring-fed ponds that feed into the River Maun. The ponds oxygenate and cleanse water from the underground springs as it filters through successive ponds en route to the Maun.