Your wonderful wildlife pictures needed in photography competition to help celebrate project’s success

child shown wildlife in a pool

Deadline now extended - entries in by midday Wednesday 21 June

A free community fun day this month will celebrate works to boost biodiversity and nature in Sleaford – and both budding and flourishing wildlife photographers are invited now to submit their photos in a prize competition forming part of the celebrations.

The £1.29 million Witham/Slea Blue Green Corridor Project has implemented some major changes to support wildlife along the River Slea and at Lollycocks Field in Sleaford, since it started last spring.

It’s funded by the European Regional Development Fund, South Kesteven and North Kesteven district councils, The Environment Agency and the National Trust as partners and is almost complete.

To celebrate the end of the project, and the beginning of a more positive future for wildlife at these places following the works, a community fun day will take place on Saturday 24 June from 11am to 3pm at Lollycocks Field and Cogglesford Mill in Sleaford.

Planned for the event on 24 June are a range of activities for all, including:

  • Build a bug hotel craft (first come first serve)
  • Guided bug hunt and pond-dipping
  • Photography sessions (11am and 1pm. Meeting point outside Cogglesford Mill, maximum 20 people per session on a first come first served basis. No need to pre-book.)
  • Cogglesford Watermill History walks (on the hour from midday, up to and including 3pm, starting from the Cogglesford gift shop. No need to pre-book.) 
  • Local goods and crafts for sale 
  • Live wood craft to watch
  • Information to add to the ways you’re boosting biodiversity and acting on climate at home

Adding to the fun, a wildlife photography competition is launching today, with shortlisted entries to be displayed at the event on June 24 and the winners picked by public vote on the day. There is both an adult (aged over 18) and young photographer category (up to 18yrs), with these prizes:

  • Winner (adult): Local goodies of plum bread, honey, chutney, jam, Cogglesford Mill flour, oats and an apron, plus a £20 voucher to spend on food and drink at the Hub Café. 
  • Runner up (adult):  Apron and a voucher for two free drinks at Cogglesford Mill.
  • Winner (young photographer): A £20 retail voucher to spend at the Hub on children’s items such as books or stationery, a pond-dipping net from Cogglesford Mill, colouring pencils and notepad, and a book.
  • Runner up (young photographer): Free Junior Swim at Sleaford Leisure Centre and swim goggles, plus two free ice creams at Cogglesford Mill and a pencil and notepad. 

Photos submitted must have been taken at Lollycocks Field or along the banks of the River Slea between Cranwell Land End and Coggslesford Mill. It could be a photo of a plant, an insect or invertebrate, a bird or other animals, or any picturesque shots which generally show the beauty of either place. They can be orientated either portrait or landscape. Entries will be shortlisted by the team for each category, and those shortlisted displayed at Cogglesford Mill on 24 June for voting.

Send your photographs in digital form by email to with your full name, email address and phone number for use if you win, the age category you’re entering for, and a brief description of your photo and when/how it was taken. The closing date is 11.59pm Monday 19 June. You must confirm you’ve read the terms and conditions.

If you’re under 18 and entering the young photographer competition, when emailing your entry you must confirm that your parent/guardian has read the terms and conditions above and agrees to your entry and your name being published alongside your photo by filling in a downloadable consent form which must be sent with your entry. Parents/guardians may email an entry and completed form on behalf of young photographers.

Keep an eye on the Council’s social media channels @northkestevendc and partners including @hillholtwood and @withamslea for the full details and confirmed activities for the fun day.

It follows similar community celebrations in Grantham on 10 June to mark the end of the Witham/Slea Blue Green Corridor Project and its success there too.

North Kesteven District Council Leader Councillor Richard Wright said:

“A whole range of work has taken place to boost biodiversity and benefit wildlife under the partnership Witham/Slea Blue Green Corridor Project in Sleaford, and it’s a pleasure to be inviting people now to celebrate the completion of it with us.

I also see this as a new beginning. All of the interventions which have been made – from the berms benefitting fish and insects below the Slea’s waterline to the scrapes and kingfisher nesting providing new habitat above ground bank at Lollycocks Field – will continue to support wildlife along the river corridor for years to come and at a time when action is needed for our biodiversity and the planet.

We’d love to see you enjoying all the activities onsite, including voting for your favourite photo on June 24. If you can’t make it, then Lollycocks Field is great to visit at any time or you could set out to discover more of the Slea and its river corridor however you can this summer. There’s much we can all enjoy about these blue green spaces, and by knowing them we can fully appreciate and care for them together.”

Lollycocks Field in Sleaford has seen major improvements through the project including a new kingfisher nesting bank, hedgerow planting and new scrapes for biodiversity and an extended boardwalk around the pond to protect ground vegetation while providing access. That’s all been undertaken by Hill Holt Wood as contractor, along with community engagement and volunteering. You can find out more about their regular volunteering opportunities at the site by visiting the website or calling 01636 892 836.

There are new features in-channel within the River Slea and along its verges, with this work carried out by Lions Environmental Contractors also as part of the Witham/Slea Blue Green Corridor Project, including five berms installed near the Hub.

These berms are low-level shelves which help recreate the natural meander of the water, especially where rivers are otherwise hard-lined with brick or concrete. They narrow the river in low flows, so even in summer water can still move downstream and keep the riverbed clear for fish which need silt-free gravel to lay eggs. The small crevices inside provide refuge for small fish, amphibians and invertebrates, and they can support plants like marsh marigold and other food sources above water.

The bankside improvements meanwhile have included removing a material called Nicospan downstream and replacing it with pre-planted coir roll, to improve the riverbank for burrowing species such as the rapidly declining water vole.

Most recently as part of the Witham/Slea Blue Green Corridor Project, the steps down to Lollycocks Field from Eastgate were last month changed to a ramp and a new 140m long resin path laid up to the bridge by contractor A.G.A Group in place of the previous earth path which often got muddy. It’ll help access now through the nature reserve for prams and wheelchair users. A wooden gate has also been installed where Lollycocks meets the nearby car park. This gate will restrict access through to the car park during school hours only, for safety when it is busy with moving cars.

A stretch of footpath along the northern bank of the River Slea between the railway bridge and the old Cranwell railway line has also been widened and re-laid with gravel under the project, for better access and enjoyment as a blue green space. The previous path was narrow, worn and uneven.

Follow North Kesteven District Council @northkestevendc and the project @withamslea on social media for updates.


image | blue-green corridor
Blue-Green Corridor logos

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