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Our Stoke-on-Trent campus includes approximately 40 hectares of playing fields and a dedicated Natural Heritage Nature Reserve of some 10 hectares. Situated at the edge of the Leek Road campus, in the heart of the Potteries, the Reserve is one of the most important wildlife sites in the city.

Owned and managed by the University, the Reserve is bordered to the north by the River Trent and to the South by an area of grassland used for teaching and research. Contained within its boundaries is a rich diversity of habitats including reed marsh, deciduous woodland and secluded pools.

The pools and reed-marsh areas support a number of important waterfowl as well as being home to a vast array of invertebrate and amphibian species. Sensitive areas of the reserve have restricted public access in order to encourage biodiversity.

The conservation, enhancement and promotion of biodiversity management by the University can:

  • Play an important role in tackling climate change
  • Provide an indicator of the wider health of our environment
  • Contribute to our health and wellbeing
  • Form an important part of our cultural heritage and identity
  • Offer opportunities for community engagement and volunteering

The ERDF SUNRISE project

This project focusses its efforts on improving the River Trent as it runs through Staffordshire University’s Nature Reserve. In the past, the river channel had been modified to make it straight and uniform in depth, and the bottom lined with large stones.

The key to a healthy watercourse for wildlife is diversity: there must be deep areas, shallow areas, fast-flowing and slow-moving water, a mixture of substrates on the river bed and banks. This variety in structure means that many different species have their needs catered for.

The ERDF SUNRISE project has transformed this previously straight section of the Trent into a gently meandering  channel, bordered by a series of small pools. The variety of water depths and more natural features provide a much improved home for brown trout, while dragonflies and damselflies are drawn to the pools and wetland areas.