WIRRAL residents are being invited to take part in this year's Wild About Gardens challenge by adding a pond to their gardens.

According to the Cheshire Wildlife Trust, the UK has lost ponds, rivers and streams at a rapid rate with only a small amount of natural ponds and wetlands remaining.

Many of the ponds left are in a poor condition and 13% of freshwater and wetland species are threatened with extinction from the UK.

Across Cheshire the lesser silver beetle thrives in ponds as well as rare natterjack toad spawn.

Now the trust is urging residents to add a pong to their garden or fill a waterproof container to help local wildlife.

Senior policy manager at The Wildlife Trusts Ellie Brodie said: "It's such fun to help wildlife with a pocket pond – it needn't be big.

"All you need to do is fill an old sink or washing-up bowl with rainwater, plant it up and make sure that wildlife can get in and out – it's easy!

"I love watching bright blue damselflies landing on the irises in my pond – they're so beautiful and it's great knowing I'm helping local wildlife."

Digging a pond is also great for hedgehogs so that they have a source to drink from and for frogs and newts to feed and breed.

Senior horticultural advisor at the Royal Horticultural Society Helen Bostock said: "Ponds and other water features are an attractive focal point in any garden and are a real haven for wildlife.

"Even cheap container ponds made from upcycled materials will quickly be colonised by a whole host of creatures and help form a living chain of aquatic habitats across the neighbourhood."

To download a free pond toolkit and for information on how to inspire your wildlife haven visit www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk