Gallows Bridge Farm is part of the much larger Upper Ray Meadows complex and lies within the joint BBOWT and RSPB Ray Valley Restoration project area.

The Upper Ray catchment is well-known regionally as a stronghold for wading birds with iconic species like Curlew and Lapwing using the Upper Ray’s extensive network of species rich grassland, floodplain and wetlands.

Gallows Bridge Farm is also home to a series of traditional farm ponds which support many priority species including Common Toad Bufo bufo, Great Crested Newt Triturus cristatus and Tubular Water-dropwort Oenanthe fistulosa. In 2012, BBOWT and Freshwater Habitats Trust dramatically increased the number of ponds on the site by creating a complex of over 40 shallow ponds within a semi-improved field as part of the Million Ponds Project. The aim was that, in future, these pools might be used to support the translocation of rare and declining mud plants that require the type of grazing and management in place at Gallows Bridge Farm to maintain their populations.

The Flagship Ponds project has provided the opportunity to trial new ways of helping rare species. At Gallows Bridge Farm we have attempted experimental introductions of the rare Tassel Stonewort Tolypella intricata and Lesser Water-plantain Baldellia ranunculoides – both of these rare species occur elsewhere in the Upper Ray catchment. Local volunteers helped to prepare the ponds and assisted with the planting, we also ran training sessions to provide the skills to monitor other priority species like Tubular Water-dropwort. We also undertook detailed invertebrate and plant surveys of the older ponds at the site which provides an update on previous survey work carried out a decade ago.

Location: Buckinghamshire

Accessibility: Some Flagship Pond sites are accessible to the public, and some are not. If in doubt, consult maps for rights of way, look online for site information, or contact the site manager, and follow any instructions on site. It is up to you to check whether you require permission to visit and access the ponds on a site.

Site owners/managers: Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust