Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Grant for community conservation project

 8th May 2012

DSC 0120 credit Emma Bradshaw webTaunton has received a £33,900 grant for a community conservation project.

Somerset Wildlife Trust has announced its first major urban conservation project working with people in Taunton to create space for nature in the county’s most populated town.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given Somerset Wildlife Trust initial support*, including £33,900 of development funding for its ‘Routes to the River Tone’ project, it was announced today.

The project is a partnership of the Environment Agency, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Natural England, British Waterways and the Taunton Deane Area Group.

Routes to the River Tone

Working with local people Routes to the River Tone aims to restore and link key wildlife habitat along the River Tone, its tributaries and a section of the Bridgwater and Taunton canal. The project will help protect nationally threatened species such as water vole and several types of bat. It will include parks, gardens, allotments and local nature reserves in a bid to create more wildlife havens in Somerset’s busy county town. Development funding of £33,900 has been awarded to help Somerset Wildlife Trust progress plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

Taunton Wildlife Week

The project got underway on May 24 with a week of free wildlife events taking place across the town for Taunton Wildlife Week. Cycle and boat safaris; riverside, bat and bird walks; and a barn owl talk were amongst events taking place with a Wildlife Extravaganza in held in Longrun Meadow.

The River Tone, its banks and tributaries are important natural features in Taunton’s built environment, linking up wildlife habitats across the town, along with hedgerows, parks, gardens and nature reserves. Routes to the River Tone is a project of Taunton Living Landscape which aims to restore, recreate and reconnect wildlife habitat in the town.

Taunton Living Landscape Project Development Officer Miriam Woolnough said: “Taunton Living Landscape will bring together the community to enhance and connect green and blue spaces, creating a joined up network of natural places where wildlife can thrive and people can enjoy nature."

Tapping into local knowledge

This summer a survey of the town’s waterways and key habitats will get underway. Community events will be held at Longrun, Childrens Wood and Blackbrook to find out what matters to local people and tap into local knowledge, with school visits planned for the autumn. This will feed into a programme of proposed habitat improvements and creation for 2013-16.

For more information contact Miriam at


HLF logo small

Photograph © Emma Bradshaw

Media enquiries/further information:
Contact PR and communications manager Beth Jerrett on 01823-652413 or e-mail:

Notes to editors:

1. *A first-round pass means the project meets HLF criteria for funding and HLF believes the project has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award. On occasion, an applicant with a first-round pass will also be awarded development funding towards the development of their scheme.

2. Project information
Project area:
The River Tone within Taunton and its five main tributaries:
Blackbrook (which splits into the Stockwood Stream)
Sherford Brook
Galmington Brook
Mill Stream
Kingston Stream
The Taunton section of the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal

Key Habitats
Species rich grassland
Young woodland
Flood Meadow
Urban Parks

Key Wildlife Sites
Netherclay LNR
Silk Mills (Roughmoor) LNR
Longrun Meadows
Weirside LNR
Frieze Hill Community Orchard LNR
South Taunton Streams LNR
Childrens Wood and Hankeridge LNR
The River Tone (Local Wildife Site)
Bridgwater and Taunton Canal (Local Wildlife Site)

Other Green Spaces
French Weir Park
Goodland Gardens
Vivary Park
Hamilton Playing Field
Wellsprings Open Space
Wedland Open Space

3. About Somerset Wildlife Trust
Somerset Wildlife Trust is the county’s leading environmental voluntary body, with around 21,000 members. The charity owns and/or manages 75 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. Website:

4. About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 33,000 projects, allocating £4.9billion across the UK. Website: