LAND adjacent to a much-loved nature reserve has been saved for wildlife thanks to the support of the public and charitable funds and trusts.
Birds, butterflies and bees will benefit from the purchase by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust of 23 hectares of Green Farm, near Sinton Green to the north of Worcester.
The land abuts the Trust’s Monkwood nature reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) whose boundaries haven’t changed for hundreds of years. The first extension to the woodland in more than 300 years will buffer this important site and the Trust will also restore existing habitats and create new ones.
The purchase has been made possible by the generosity of the Trust’s members, the public, National Lottery players via The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Severn Waste Services, The Banister
Charitable Trust, 3dtotal.com Ltd and The LG Harris Charitable Trust. The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation initially bought the land to give the Trust time to raise funds; the Trust have already started to manage it for wildlife.
Dominique Cragg, reserves officer responsible for managing Monkwood and Green Farm, said: “The land consists of a series of meadows and ancient hedgerows. We’ll be restoring some of the meadows that are rich with wildflowers but in other areas we’ll be allowing natural regeneration of trees, supplementing this with the planting of native species that have been lost in the area over time.
“Rather than recreate woodland everywhere, we’ll allow wood pasture to establish on some parts of the grassland. A wood pasture is an area of grazing land with scattered trees. It will provide connectivity between woodlands in the area and help in the fight to combat climate change.
“We know that Monkwood and surrounding lands were wood pasture around 300 years ago, so we’re turning the clock back.
Six species of bat have been recorded foraging over Green Farm and nine species of birds of moderate or high conservation concern have been confirmed as breeding there, with a further 20 species using the site for food and shelter.
Green-winged orchids and adder’s-tongue fern have been found in one of the meadows and the team are looking forward to seeing what else occurs as restoration takes hold.
As well as helping the Trust to buy the land, a £240,374 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will enable the Trust to improve the car park and bridleway throughout Monkwood to enable better access for wheelchairs and buggies.
New signage will be installed to help visitors to better understand more about this important place. The grant will also allow the Trust to work with several local organisations and schools.
Over the coming year, the Trust will establish a circular walk using permissive and public footpaths to allow visitors to access both Monkwood and Green Farm. Parts of the nature reserve will remain inaccessible to the public to allow true refuges for wildlife to thrive undisturbed.
Visit www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk for more.