NORTH AYRSHIRE Council have made progress in the Eglinton Park habitat restoration project.

The local authority’s ranger service has recently been co-ordinating their efforts for an area within the country park grounds.

The nature reserve area known as the Sourlie Wet Meadow is a delicate ecosystem.

This is relatively rare in Ayrshire and the restoration works are being carried out by East Ayrshire Woodlands and the Green Network Trainees – an initiative funded by North Ayrshire Council and Garnock Connections.

The ongoing project will involve cutting down and treating encroaching willow scrub, which is currently drying out the wet land.

As the area holds water, it has become a unique combination of different types of habitat ranging from species-rich neutral and rush grassland to short transitionary grassland.

The initiative carried out by Eglinton’s ranger service is part of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy ‘Big Steps for Nature’.

This involves working on ecosystem grassland.

Linda Tedford, one of the rangers, said: “The results of the conservation efforts being made in the Sourlie Wet Meadow will be evaluated and monitored annually through regular plant and invertebrate surveys.

“We hope to soon observe a rise in the diversity of species to establish the works effectiveness.

“Our service wouldn’t have been able to do this alone so we are very grateful to our partner organisations including Streetscene, who have all come together to work on this project.”

Councillor Jim Montgomerie added: “This exciting restoration project forms part of the Green Network Training Programme and is one of 25 projects being funded through Garnock Connections.

“It is a fantastic example of how we can work together to create an attractive grassland area with biodiversity benefits for the local community.

“It also links well with the response to our climate change emergency.

“The habitat restoration will also help to conserve wildlife attracting birds and amphibians in the spring and insects and bats during the summer months.”