Wincanton Racecourse


CSA have provided ecological advice to The Jockey Club on several projects, but this one is a bit different and involved relining a reservoir used to water the racecourse. The reservoir was leaking and only working at 60-70% capacity. In addition, aquatic plants were blocking the pumps preventing water from being pumped to irrigate the racecourse. Thanks to CSA’s input a large saving of over sixty thousand pounds as part of the Great Crested Newt (GCN) District Level Licensing (DLL) route was obtained in the conservation payment.

An eDNA survey was undertaken by previous consultants in June 2021 which returned a positive result for great crested newts and an application was submitted to Natural England to use the DLL route. The amount quoted by Natural England was prohibitive for the project totalling £83.5k, therefore putting a pause on any works.

CSA were brought on board and for the initial phase recommended a scheme of sensitive working methods and advised management works to be undertaken under a non-licence method statement. This allowed the client to unblock the pump and remove small amounts of aquatic vegetation around the inlet pipe to prevent this from happening again in the short term.

In the next phase, CSA applied for a DLL licence from Natural England, highlighting the temporary nature of the works and that the reservoir would be re-instated. In addition, sensitive working methods would be followed including the timings of the work to avoid great crested newt breeding season, as well as an ecological watching brief of key aspects including pond drain down and hand searches. The quote received from Natural England was around £22k meaning a saving of £61.5k.

The works were completed in December 2023 and the reservoir is now full following the recent rain and ready for the next racing season.