Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Conservations Organisations Opt for Kissing Without Stile

 14th Feb 2019

Thursday 14th February 2019  –  The Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Unit and Somerset Wildlife Trust have been working together to enhance Bubwith Acres Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest overlooking Cheddar in the heart of the Mendip Hills AONB.

Two old rotten stiles were replaced with new kissing gates along a public footpath on the edge of the reserve after a request from local group, Cheddar Walking. The footpath is also part of the West Mendip Way, enabling walkers to better explore this recreational trail that spans from Weston-Super-Mare through to Wells and beyond to Frome as part of the wider Mendip Way.

Volunteers from both organisations joined forces in January to improve access and restore habitat. Volunteers also cleared a block of scrub, made up of hawthorn and bramble, restoring a limestone grassland slope. Species-rich calcareous grasslands are an important habitat in the Mendip Hills, supporting a wide range of wildflowers, orchids and butterflies. 

Chris Eyles, West Mendip Senior Reserves Manager at Somerset Wildlife Trust said “This fragile habitat is particularly vulnerable to encroaching scrub, which if left unchecked will swallow up the grassland. This vital work means this area will now be capable of hosting a much richer variety of ground flora and invertebrates.”

Over 220 hours of time were generously given by volunteers as part of the joint practical task.

Tim Haselden, Development Officer for the Mendip Hills AONB, said “We’re really grateful to all of the volunteers who gave their time to help carry out these important access and habitat improvements on site. Working together in partnership and encouraging sustainable access to the landscape is key if we’re to successfully conserve, restore and protect the Mendip Hills for future generations.

Practical conservation days with volunteers take place every other Wednesday at various sites across the Mendip Hills. For information please visit and



For interviews and further information please contact Kirby Everett on 01823 652413 or email: or Beccy Willmetts on 01823 652414 or

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Photo: Caption

Images are attached for use with this news release.  They are granted on a one-time use basis, in association with this release and the photographer must be credited. More images available on request.


Notes to editors:

About Somerset Wildlife Trust –

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.