Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Thanks to over 20 years of hard work to create huge reed beds on old peat workings and arable fields to provide ideal nesting and feeding habitat for Bittern, Somerset is now Britain’s stronghold for this mysterious and elusive wetland bird, identified by their distinctive and mournful boom-like call .  From only eleven males in in the UK in 1997, mostly in East Anglia and Lancashire, forty-seven male Bittern were recorded in 2016 in Somerset, and were largely found on Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Westhay and Catcott Nature Reserves. The Bittern’s renaissance is one of the UK’s great conservation successes of recent years and Somerset Wildlife Trust continues to deliver land and water management programmes on its wetland reserves to ensure that this success continues. Click here to help keep Somerset’s Bittern booming.

Success Species

Large Blue

Despite over 50 years of effort to halt its decline, the Large Blue Butterfly was pronounced extinct in Britain in 1979, predominantly as a result of changes in countryside management practices which impacted on the populations of one particular red ant upon which the Large Blue’s lifecycle depends. Since its reintroduction in 1984, and some incredible landscape-scale conservation work to create optimum habitat for more than fifty former Large Blue sites - the finest of these being on Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Green Down Nature Reserve -  the species has made an incredible recovery.  The population of Large Blues on the Green Down Reserve has increased by 74% from 2015 thanks to targeted scrub clearance programmes and careful grazing of wildflower-rich grasslands – which also helps a huge diversity of wild plants and other insects to thrive. Click here to help secure habitats for Somerset’s Large Blue and other butterfly species.
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Since the 1930’s we have lost 97% (nearly 7.5 million acres) of meadows and grasslands and the wildflowers and wildlife associated with them. Every year more and more meadows are lost through neglect, change of land use or development, and with them our native wildflowers such as Oxeye Daisies, Devil's Bit Scabious and Bee Orchids, to name but a few. Through our partnership project, Save Our Magnificent Meadows, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, our meadows teams have managed to not only restore neglected meadows across the county, but, with the help of local people, create new wildlife meadows by transforming community spaces to provide havens for butterflies, bees and other species that we take for granted. Click here to find out how to help protect Somerset meadows for future generations.
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