AN IMPORTANT colony of rare great crested newts has been saved by the speedy response of a team of water workers.
The creatures, an endangered species, were in danger of being washed away in the torrent gushing from a dramatic pipe burst near their pond.
But operators from Southern Water and its contractor, Clancy Docwra, were at the scene so fast they were able to halt the flow of water before it could reach the pond and contaminate it.
They also prevented the water from damaging the nearby farmhouse, Kitbridge Farm, near Newport, a listed building and home to an important conservation project.
As well as the newts, it is home to nearly 50 other protected species, including owls, kites, adders and lizards.
Mark Earp, who lives in the house and is project manger of the trustees, said: "I woke up to a great noise, looked out and saw the yard under a foot of water.
"I looked down the lane and saw the water pipe had burst and I started to panic.
"The flow of water was incredible and it was coming closer to the house and the main breeding pond where the newts are breeding right now. I started trying to block up drainholes to the pond with sand and gravel and rang Southern Water," he added.
"Along with the team from Clancy Docwra, they leapt into action and did a superb job. Afterwards, they reinstated the gravel lane, which had practically washed away, without even being asked."
Mr Earp is licensed to handle newts and he was able to rescue two heavily pregnant females.