Langford Heathfield is the Somerset Wildlife Trust’s second largest nature reserve, at 226 acres. It is the reserve’s varied habitats, which include ancient woodland, scrub, heathy grassland and ponds that makes it home to such a variety of wildlife and a popular area for people to visit.
The Trust’s reserves are managed so that they continue to be a wonderful habitat for wildlife and an engaging and safe environment for people to explore. This work has taken a huge leap forward at Langford Heathfield thanks to a grant of £20,600 from Viridor Credits.
The money has been used to create two new waymarked nature trails (one at 1km and one at 3km), both of which start at the interpretation panel at the Jubilee Seat lay-by. To ensure that visitors don’t get lost, 30 waymarker posts are placed along the trails, as well as 12 small information panels which illustrate the wildlife that can be seen – from Common Lizards to Bluebells.
Along the route of the long trail, a 180 metre section of 20 year old boardwalk was replaced in Spring 2016. This is already being used by visitors, and along with the other sections of boardwalk previously installed, ensures that the worst areas of mud can be safely and comfortably crossed.
Making it Now
In addition to the works to improve the reserve for visitors, Viridor Credits also gave a £3,600 grant to improve parts of the reserve for wildlife. Two areas of Gorse, Willow and Birch scrub have been cleared within the grassland. This clearance will give rare plants such as Petty Whin, Pale Heath Violet, Bog Pimpernel and Heath Spotted Orchids the light and space to grow and flourish. One of the longest woodland rides on the reserve has had the trees coppiced on either side. This will increase the sunlight reaching the ground surface and encourage plants such as Common Spotted Orchid, Dog Violets and Wood Speedwell, as well as providing an additional area for the woodland bats to hunt flying insects.
David Northcote-Wright (Somerset Wildlife Trust Senior Reserves Manager for West Somerset and the Blackdowns) comments, “The Trust is delighted that this substantial grant from Viridor Credits has enabled us to considerably improve our visitor facilities at Langford Heathfield and hope that as a result visitors enjoyment of the reserve will be much enhanced. At the moment the shrub, Guelder Rose is particularly obvious along the new trails with its beautiful red berries.”
If you would like to find out more about the reserve, please go to the Trusts’ web page at: www.somersetwildlife.org/langford_heathfield