A WILDLIFE haven has been given a major spring clean in an improvement project.

Joe's Pond, near Houghton-le-Spring, has been dramatically improved, thanks to a project run by Durham Wildlife Trust and Sunderland City Council.

The pond, located at the trust's Rainton Meadows headquarters, is a valuable area for wildfowl and the project has employed a full-time staff member, Mark Dinning, to oversee work.

Improvements have included new steps, fences, hedges and signs, repairs to bridges and the bird hide, making footpaths more accessible and the creation of a pond-dipping platform.

Trees have been felled to improve the habitat for wetland flora and open up views, plantations have been thinned out, new woodland areas planted and reed beds created.

The work has also included patrols of the site to stop anti-social behaviour. The spring clean was carried out by trust staff and volunteers.

Mr Dinning said: "The work has done a lot to improve the pond.

"Joe's Pond has long been an important wildlife haven and the efforts of our volunteer taskforce, and volunteer reserve wardens have made it easier for the public to appreciate its distinctive qualities."