Newt Night 3rd May 2005

About 25 people turned up including several children. Will Atkins led us around the park from the onset of dusk. In total we examined 6 ponds including the Moat and all contained Great Crested Newts, some of the ponds had large numbers. Everyone present found the evening fascinating and our thanks go to Will for leading us around and sharing his vast knowledge of the subject with us.

Will writes............."The ponds in Dagnam Park are some of the best in the whole of London for the wildlife which they contain, especially their great crested newts. These impressive amphibians can grow to over six inches in length and they receive some of the highest legal protection of any animal in the UK. In spite of this, they have become much rarer in London over the past few decades, mainly due to the large ponds which they need for breeding becoming silted up".

In the winter of 2000/2001, the London Essex and Hertfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Trust (LEHART), a charity which was a founder member of the Havering Wildlife Partnership, secured a grant to restore over thirty ponds in the Borough, many of them in Dagnam Park. Several years on, and the newts have exploited the better conditions and now there are hundreds in Dagnam Park, making it the most important site in the Capital for this rare and striking animal.

Will Atkins follows one of our more inquisitive younger members through the mud at the margin of a newly created pond. Great Crested Newts were found here.
Female Great Crested Newt
This is a female Great Crested Newt laying an egg on vegetation about 150mm below the surface of the Tennis Court Pond
Further info on British amphibians