Tuesday 5th February 2019 – Somerset Wildlife Trust has received a grant of £22,000 from Aggregate Industries through their Local Partnerships Fund to improve habitats for Mendip butterflies. The project, ‘Making Space for Butterflies’, will involve woodland management work at Cheddar Wood and grassland and hedgerow restoration in East Mendip around Aggregate Industries’ Torr Works Quarry site.
These woodland and calcareous grassland sites are important because they support a large variety of important butterfly species, as well as other invertebrates. This in turn will encourage birds and mammals to make their homes within these areas too.
Simon Wiltshire, Aggregate Industries’ Biodiversity and Restoration Advisor said: “We are really pleased to be able to support Somerset Wildlife Trust in such a positive project which will benefit butterflies and other wildlife by enhancing vital habitats in Mendip on and around our quarry sites. We are also thrilled to be able to engage local people, Aggregate Industries staff and Somerset Wildlife Trust members and volunteers with rural skills training through this funding, coming together to learn more about these valuable habitats.”
Improvements will include tree thinning, coppicing and ride-widening works in woodland areas of the Trust’s Cheddar Wood Nature Reserve, allowing more light to reach the woodland floor, which will promote diversity of woodland flora for butterflies such as Silver-washed fritillaries to feed on.
Fences at Cheddar Wood fields and around Torr Quarry Works will also be repaired and upgraded to enable these areas to be grazed to keep back encroaching scrub, which allows grasses and flowers to flourish. Scrub will also be cleared from the grassland around Torr Works Quarry, which will restore even more valuable calcareous grassland, vital for butterflies like the Small blue.
As a part of the project, Aggregate Industries staff, Somerset Wildlife Trust volunteers, members and local people will all have the opportunity to learn rural skills such as coppicing and hedge-laying. Whilst this work benefits wildlife, it will also help local people learn something new and benefit their own physical and mental wellbeing through being active and spending more time outdoors.
Lila Morris, the ‘Making Space for Butterflies’ Project Manager at Somerset Wildlife Trust said “Aggregate Industries has been an important source of support for our work in Mendip over the years and we are very grateful to receive this funding to improve butterfly habitats at Cheddar Wood and in East Mendip. It is fantastic that AI are keen to manage their land with wildlife in mind, as well as fund the running of community workshops and volunteer sessions to restore vital habitats.”
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About Somerset Wildlife Trust – www.somersetwildlife.org
Somerset’s wildlife is part of what makes living, working and visiting the county so special. Somerset Wildlife Trust has been protecting vulnerable wildlife and preserving Somerset’s wild places for over 50 years and, with over 19,000 members, is the largest conservation charity in the county. Alongside our members and volunteers we work year round to protect wildlife, transform landscapes and put nature back into people’s lives.
Our reserves holding of over 1700 hectares incorporates a diverse range of habitats from wetlands to woodlands, grasslands and meadows, and provide secure environments for a diverse range of wildlife such as Dormice, Otters, Hedgehogs, Barn Owls and many other species - as well as providing safe havens for some of Somerset’s most iconic species such as Bittern and Large Blue butterfly. These habitats also connect green spaces across the county so wildlife can travel, and are the bedrock upon which we are able to deliver key conservation programmes across the year.
The majority of our work is made possible through the support of our members and people who live and work in the county who choose to make donations, fundraise for us or leave generous legacies. By working together with our members and supporters we really can make a difference.