Site of Special Scientific Interest

An area with particular wildlife, ecological or environmental interest for scientists can be designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest or SSSI. An important SSSI in Witham Valley Country Park is Swanholme Lakes Local Nature Reserve. Swanholme Lakes has a mosaic of habitat types represented, and the species found within them are important features both nationally and locally in terms of biodiversity.

It is an important wildlife site for Lincoln and was designated a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1985, and a Local Nature Reserve status was granted in 1991. The site was formally a gravel quarry, and now the 63-hectare site consists of dry heath, wet heath, sphagnum bog and open water habitats.

Important species for the site include several pondweeds Potamogenton spp. and water soldier Stratiotes aloides.

The lakes are also home to a number of invertebrate species including 16 breeding species of dragonflies and damselflies, three species found there are – red-eyed damselfly Erythromma najas, variable damselfly Coenagrion pulchellum, and ruddy darter Sympetrum sanguineum, all of which are rare in England.

Natural England advise landowners on management issues, and conservation advisers work with park rangers to achieve the best possible conservation management of Swanholme Lakes Local Nature Reserve. All advice is based on the specific conservation objectives for the specific site.