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Wildlife Enquiries & FAQs

Here we hope you'll find the answers to regular queries we receive about the Trust, and simple wildlife advice on sick or injured birds and animals. You can join in our online enquries service too.


Frequently asked questions

  1. What area does Cheshire Wildlife Trust cover?
  2. How many staff are there?
  3. How can I arrange an educational visit to my school?
  4. What do I do with injured wildlife?
  5. How do I become a volunteer?
  6. Can I get a job with Cheshire Wildlife Trust?
  7. Planning Enquiries
  8. Can I visit Bickley Hall Farm?
  9. Are CWT nature reserves open to the public?
  10. There's too much frogspawn in my pond
  11. Why are there no frogs in my pond and what can I do?
  12. I've seen a polecat
  13. How can I stop badgers digging in my garden?
  14. When is the best time to clear out a garden pond?
  15. The water level in my pond is low should I top it up?
  16. I would like an ecological survey done on my land
  17. I'd like advice on building a wildlife friendly garden
  18. I've seen a rare plant/bird/animal – who should I tell?
  19. I've seen or suspect an illegal activity
    (badger digging, poaching, collecting birds eggs, etc.)
  20. I’ve got a bat trapped in my house
  21. How can I encourage hedgehogs into my garden and what can I feed them?
  22. I’ve found an abandoned baby hedgehog in my garden
  23. What good are wasps?
  24. I’ve got a wasp nest in my garden
  25. What should I do if I find a stranded marine animal?
  26. Who are The Wildlife Trusts?
  27. Can I fly a drone at your sites?
     

What area does Cheshire Wildlife cover?
We operate throughout Cheshire West & Chester, Cheshire East, Halton, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Warrington and Wirral.


How many staff are there?
About 25, although many work part time. Volunteers are also an integral part of the team and we have many regular volunteers who work at our Bickley Hall Farm HQ and as specialists in areas such as planning and development throughout the region.


How can I arrange an educational visit to my school?
Our People and Wildlife staff run educational visits to schools, and take school groups to visit our nature reserves. For more information take a look at our education pages in Discover and Learn.


What do I do with injured wildlife?
The Trust does not deal with injured wildlife. Casualties can be taken to:

RSPCA Stapeley Grange Wildlife Hospital,
London Road, Nantwich
Telephone 0870 4427102

or
Lower Moss Wood, School Lane, Ollerton, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 8SJ
Telephone/fax 01565 755082

If you find a fledgling which appears to be abandoned please leave it alone. Generally the parents are close by, and will return to feed it as soon as you move away. Only if the young bird is still alone after several hours, or is obviously injured, do you need to take action.


How do I become a volunteer?
Volunteers are vital to our work. Look first at the volunteer opportunities listed on our website in How You Can Help.

To find out more, or if you have other skills you think we could make use of please fill in a Volunteer form and send to info@cheshirewt.org.uk or call 01948 820728.


Can I get a job with Cheshire Wildlife Trust?
Any current vacancies will be advertised on our website. If you are looking for a career in environmental conservation volunteering is a good way to gain experience – have a look at our volunteer opportunities page.


Planning Enquiries
We monitor planning applications for possible damage to wildlife and make objections where necessary. For more information contact our Planning & Ecology Officer, Rachel Giles on info@cheshirewt.org.uk.

Please note that we respond to over 100 planning applications each year. As a charity with limited resources we are not able to respond to every planning application we hear about. We prioritise larger developments and those that could have significant impacts on Cheshire’s wildlife. If you are concerned about a development in your area then take a look at our Planning and Policy pages. Here you'll find useful advice and fact sheets on tackling planning and development that might affect wildlife in your community.


If you think a developer is in breach of planning regulations in a way that threatens wildlife contact Natural England (Crewe offices 0300 060 2922).

We also offer advice to developers and land management services through our ecological consultancy Cheshire Ecological Services (CES). Please visit their website for further details.


Can I visit Bickley Hall Farm?
Bickley Hall Farm is our main office and a working farm, therefore we do not have facilities to receive casual visitors. Organised groups can be given guided tours of the farm by prior arrangement only (please email info@cheshirewt.org.uk or call 01948 820728).


Are CWT nature reserves open to the public?
Most of our nature reserves are open to the public, some are members only, and a few have very limited access due to the very fragile habitats or dangerous nature of the terrain. To find out more look at the pages for the individual reserves on our website.


There's too much frogspawn in my pond
Please do not move spawn between ponds, as this can transmit diseases. However crowded your pond may appear this is natural. Many animals feed on tadpoles, and numbers will be reduced to no more than your pond can support. To find out more about amphibians in gardens contact Froglife.


Why are there no frogs in my pond and what can I do?
Don’t be tempted to speed things along by introducing frogspawn from another pond. Moving anything between ponds can spread diseases that are deadly to amphibians like frogs. You could also spread unwanted invasive plants to your pond. Wildlife usually finds its way to your pond on its own. It helps if your pond edges are sloped for easy access and if you plant around your pond or let the grass grow up.  For more ideas and advice visit Froglife.


I've seen a polecat
Polecats have re-colonised most of Cheshire in the last 20 years. We are still interested in all sightings. To report a sighting visit www.record-lrc.co.uk

How can I stop badgers digging in my garden?
This is almost impossible, badgers are strong enough to break through most fences. They are digging to find buried insects, this is generally short-term, and they will forage elsewhere as food becomes available in the countryside. For more information contact Cheshire and Wirral Badger Group.


When is the best time to clear out a garden pond?
Garden ponds accumulate dead plant material and other detritus over time and you may want to clear it out every few years (annual cleaning out is generally not needed). The best time is late autumn, after tadpoles have metamorphosed and left the pond, and before pond creatures become dormant before the winter. If you can leave a small section of the pond un-cleared this can act as a refuge for pond life to shelter in.


The water level in my pond is low should I top it up?
Water levels normally drop in the warmer summer months. In fact some animals and plants rely on the exposed silt and mud to set seed or lay eggs. If you think your pond needs topping up then use rainwater from a butt not tap water and refill the pond gradually not all in one go. Plants and animals can be very sensitive to changes in water temperature and chemistry.
 

For more information on ponds look at the Pond Conservation website.


I would like an ecological survey done on my land

We have a commercial subsidiary Cheshire Ecological Services, who can do ecological surveys, provide advice and carry out ecological work.


I'd like advice on building a wildlife friendly garden
We have a range of downloadable wildlife friendly garden advice sheets available on our Wildlife Gardening page. If you need more specific information you can contact us and we’ll do our best to help.


I've seen a rare plant/bird/animal – who should I tell?
Record is the Local Biological Records Centre for the Cheshire region. They hold vast numbers of records of plant and animal life, both common and rare species, and many of them submitted by members of the public. They can also sometimes assist with the identification of species. If you have a photo of your species this makes identification much easier.

If you think you’ve spotted something rare or interesting on one of our reserves we would be interested to hear email us at cheshirewt.org.uk  or phone on 01948 820728. If you have an interesting photo or something that you need help identifying then you could upload a photo to ispot, a free site helping to identify wildlife and share nature.


I've seen or suspect an illegal activity (badger digging, poaching, collecting birds eggs, etc.)
Contact the police wildlife crime officer. If you see activities such as badger digging do not approach the people yourself, they can be violent. Call the police immediately. If you can record car number plates or take photos without being seen do so, but do not put yourself at risk.


I’ve got a bat trapped in my house
Bats are a protected species, and it is illegal to move or disturb them. The Bat Conservation Trust offers bat advice and can put you in contact with local advisors who can arrange visits. If you need more information about bat roosts in property or nearby trees, contact the Bat Conservation Trust.


If you have any kind of bat emergency, ring the Bat Conservation Trust’s Bat Helpline on 0845 1300228


How can I encourage hedgehogs into my garden and what can I feed them?
Hedgehogs eat slugs, snails and other garden pests, so they are useful to have around if you are a gardener. They like thick dense undergrowth and a variety of lengths of grass. You could also help them by making sure they can get into your neighbours’ gardens by making a small gap under your fence. Contrary to common belief, they should not be fed bread and milk as it is hard for them to digest. However, they are partial to cat food.


I’ve found an abandoned baby hedgehog in my garden
It is unusual for a parent to abandon their young. It is more often the case that the young are exploring while their parents are out foraging. If the young hedgehogs are uninjured and there is no immediate danger then our advice would be to leave them where they are.

Only if the hedgehog appears injured or in distress should you take action.


What good are wasps?
Wasps tend to be unpopular as they sting. We seem to be more forgiving of honey bees as they provide us with honey. Wasps have an important role to play in the ecosystem. They are pollinators and act as a natural pest control, feeding on nectar, other insects and caterpillars. Also yeast, which is used to make bread and ferment wine and beer, survives the winter in the guts of hibernating paper wasps and hornets. So actually wasps really are quite useful.


I’ve got a wasp nest in my garden
Wasps don’t reuse the same nest and the nest will be empty by autumn. Wasps are also a key part of a wildlife garden’s natural ‘pest’ control feeding on other insects, larvae and caterpillars. If left undisturbed, a wasp nest could actually be good for your garden.


What should I do if I find a stranded marine animal?

It is important not to pull on the animal by its fins and if you can keep dogs and large crowds away to avoid distressing the animal. Keep animals cool and wet but avoid the blowhole (cetaceans) / nostrils (turtles). Keep clear of the tail / flippers, they are incredibly powerful and can cause serious injury.

If you find a live animal stranded on the shoreline then report it immediately to British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546.

If you find a dead animal, although it may be upsetting, strandings are a vital source of information on cryptic marine species; including on diet, reproduction, disease and overall health of wild populations.

In England, for any whales, dolphins or porpoises, call Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) on 0207 9425155. For turtles and seals call the Zoological Society of London on 0207 449 6672. In Wales, call 01348 875000 for all species.

Note that seals regularly haul out and seal pups may have been temporarily left whilst the mother forages locally. Do not report seals unless injured or obviously abandoned.


Who are The Wildlife Trusts?

http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/qa


Can I fly a drone at your sites?
To protect wildlife from disturbance and for the safety and enjoyment of visitors, please do not fly drones or other remote-control flying devices in our nature reserves, without prior permission.

Our reserves are important areas for wildlife and many of them are used for breeding. These sites are sensitive to disturbance; for instance, birds may feel threatened by drones and abandon their nests.

We do occasionally obtain drone footage of our reserves to assist our conservation and engagement work, but this is only done with our permission, and is scheduled at times which minimise impact.

If you would like to get in touch to discuss using a drone at our sites please call 01948 820728 or e-mail info@cheshirewt.org.uk