Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust awarded £1,000,000 to transform nature reserve

Tuesday 9th August 2016

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) has been awarded a £676,700 grant from the Heritage Lottery to transform the barns at Greystones Farm nature reserve into a hands-on Heritage Education and Discovery centre. Funding was unlocked thanks to generous contributions from various organisations including Grundon Waste Management and Summerfield Charitable Trust, totaling over £1,000,000.

In celebration, the charity will launch the project with the Big Bourton Picnic, an annual family event, on Sunday 14th August.Greystones Farm nature reserve is a unique place situated in the Cotswolds most visited village, Bourton-on-the-Water. The site has been occupied and farmed for around 6000 years, and is home to the Scheduled Ancient Monument, Salmonsbury Camp, the only lowland fortified settlement in England.

The nature reserve is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with rare flower-rich river meadows of utmost conservation importance. The meadows are grazed in partnership with Simon Weaver Organic, who uses the milk from the cows to make single Gloucester cheese.

The public will be invited to discover the history and wildlife of the reserve, as well as sample Simon’s single Gloucester cheese at the launch event on 14th August. Other family-friendly activities will include small mammal tracking, storytelling, Iron Age pot making and cooking, archery and country games. There will be plenty of food and drink to keep visitors refreshed during the day as well.

Gareth Parry –Head of Community Programmes says:

“This is a landmark moment for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. For over 50 years we have been the guardians of Gloucestershire’s wild places, but many people and schools have been unable to visit our reserves. Greystones Farm will become a place where we can welcome people of all ages and abilities to discover what is special about the Cotswold’s countryside and learn about its wildlife and history.”

The creation of a heritage education and discovery centre has been made possible by the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and huge support from Grundon Waste Management. As a result, GWT will be able to continue holding community events and weave together the important stories of archaeology, agriculture and wildlife for visitors.

GWT is extremely grateful to Summerfield Charitable Trust and local landfill company Grundon Waste Management who, on hearing the county charity’s ambitions for the farm, donated the match funding through the Landfill Communities Fund to unlock the HLF funding.

The public will be invited to discover the history and wildlife of the reserve, as well as sample Simon’s single Gloucester cheese at the launch event on 14th August.

Andrew Short, Estates Manager at Grundon, said: “Greystones is unique, and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has the experience and knowledge to bring it to life for local and national education and tourism. Grundon had no hesitation in supporting a project which will benefit a huge number of people.”

Over the next few years there will be a programme of exciting events, activities, volunteering opportunities and interactive interpretation to bring alive the archaeology, wildlife and agricultural heritage of Greystones Farm. All whilst ensuring the site is preserved, enhanced and made accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

One of the first of these events is the Big Bourton Picnic. Entry is free and activities will take place between 11am and 4pm. For more information visit www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk/whats-on

Greystones Farm is a short ten-minute level walk from the village’s main car park (pay & display) in Station Road and will be signposted from the A429 on the day. There is no parking at the reserve.

Thanks also go to University of Durham LIFE + Project, Active Together, St James Place Foundation, Blatchington Court Trust, MV Millhouse Trust, The Verdon-Smith Family Charitable Trust, Miss Edith Mary Sage Charitable Trust, Rowlands Trust and Gordon Gray Trust for their generous contributions to the project.