WORK to create two new wetland areas at RSPB Saltholme will start next week.

This is the third phase of a programme of improvements to enhance the experience for wildlife and visitors to the reserve between Stockton and Billingham.

The work involves re-landscaping the main lake to create more islands for nesting spring migrants, such as common tern, and installing a new sluice.

Chris Francis, senior site manager, said: “This will allow staff to lower the water levels in the late summer to create a fantastic muddy area for wading birds, such as black-tailed godwit, who pass through the UK on their autumn migration.

"In the spring, we will raise the water level to create the islands on which the common terns will breed when they return from Africa.”

The second part of this major project is to create thirty new ponds designed to benefit dragonflies and damselflies. In addition to the pools there will also be the creation of new footpaths, installation of interpretation panels and brass rubbing points, and a magnificent new dragonfly life cycle sculpture.

Teesside Environmental Trust have funded this work as part of their long-term commitment to creating an internationally important nature reserve on Teesside. The work will last for about six weeks and the site will remain open throughout the works.