Local school children joined Somerset Wildlife Trust to celebrate improvements to Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve on Thursday, September 16.
Thanks to a £341,000 investment from independent funding body, Viridor Credit Environmental Company, the Trust has been able to improve the 162 acre nature reserve for wildlife and visitors alike.
As a part of the project children from Catcott, Meare, West Pennard and Baltonsborough Primary Schools were invited to take part in a competition to design food chains, life cycles and time lines which have been carved into the new boardwalk.
Mark Blake, Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Reserve Officer, said: “Westhay Moor is at the cornerstone of our local Living Landscape project to restore and reconnect habitat in the Brue Valley so wildlife continues to thrive.
“Local young people are a key part of our Living Landscape project to protect wetland wildlife into the future so we are delighted that their fabulous designs are part of the Trust’s flagship nature reserve.”
Major improvements to the reserve include the installation of a windpump, to sustainably pump water onto the mire. This is vital to restore and maintain the largest fragment of lowland raised mire in the south west of England. Work to increase the variety of wildlife on the reserve, by creating the right habitat, includes scrub clearance, coppicing, and opening up channels in the reed bed.
For visitors boardwalks and hides have been improved for better access around the reserve, including wheelchairs. New artwork, sculptures, nature trails and interpretation all help visitors enjoy and understand the local landscape and wildlife. The reserve has also been extended with the purchase and restoration of additional land and a team of local volunteer wardens has been set up to help manage the reserve.
Dr Ian White, MBE, Chairman of Viridor Credits, said: “We are delighted to support the Westhay Nature Reserve restoration project which is an invaluable asset to wildlife, local residents and visitors. It is so important to protect these diverse areas of our landscape.
“Over the years we have distributed over £70 million and supported over 1000 community and environmental projects UK-wide. Our aim is to give maximum benefit to communities through the careful selection of great schemes and the distribution of as much money as possible.”
Viridor Credits’ investment has also seen similar improvements at the nearby Catcott Complex. A nature trail has been developed, hides improved, a viewing platform and interpretation added. Land has been purchased to extend the reserve and habitat restored.
Viridor Credits is an independent charity which distributes the landfill tax credits which the company makes available for environmental, conservation and community projects via the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF).
Take a look around Westhay Moor Nature Reserve.
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Notes to editors:
• Somerset Wildlife Trust is the county’s leading environmental voluntary body, with around 20,900 members.
The charity owns and/or manages around 80 nature reserves all over the county.
Money raised is spent to restore, recreate and reconnect our damaged countryside by creating living landscapes for wildlife and people. We help wildlife adapt to climate change, encourage sustainable living, fight to save sites where wildlife is threatened by monitoring development and inspire people to create more green space bringing environmental, social and economic benefits.
The trust is one of 47 in the UK. Together, they make up the Wildlife Trusts Partnership.
• Viridor Credits Environmental Company distributes funding through the Landfill Communities Fund. Funding is available for community and environmental improvement projects within 10 miles of an active Viridor Waste Management landfill site. Since 1996 Viridor Credits has allocated over £70M to over 1,000 projects across the UK.
• Viridor Credits is looking for further projects to fund which are within 10 miles of Viridor managed landfill sites. Community groups should either visit www.viridor-credits.co.uk, call 01823 624656, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Viridor Credits Environmental Company, Aintree House, Blackbrook Park Avenue, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 2PX.