Boost for rare species at Cotswold Water Park

Friday 13th April 2018

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust's On the Wing projectGreat Crested Grebe (C) Steve Waterhouse

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has secured a £50,000 grant from Biffa Award to help a range of birds, bats and insects at its three nature reserves within the Cotswold Water Park.

Biffa Award is a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.

The On the Wing project will support species at Whelford Pools, Roundhouse Lake, and Bryworth Lane nature reserves. These areas are important because they are home to a wide range of species, including many which are in need of protection. 

Tim Bevan, a Senior Reserve Manager at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust says: “The Cotswold Water Park is a wonderful area, with a mosaic of different habitats next to each other. There is open water, reed beds, woodland, and grassland. There is easy access, making it a great place for visitors to see a huge range of wildlife. The funding from Biffa Award will allow Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers to manage these nature reserves for the correct balance of tree cover, scrub, reed beds and open grass spaces. This benefits the many winged species that find a home and food here.” 

Birds in the area include reed buntings and great crested grebes, while wildfowl such as gadwalls and pochards spend the winter here. There are also red-eyed damselflies and downy emerald dragonflies. Noctule bats, Daubenton’s bats and soprano pipistrelle bats are also found around the nature reserves. 

One ongoing task is to manage the trees surrounding the lakes. The willows, hazels and thorns are cut back in rotation to ensure a varied habitat. It’s also important that there are open areas of grassland as this supports the insects that birds rely on for food. Meanwhile, the insects found on the lakes provide vital food for bats.

To help with the work Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust will be offering more opportunities for local volunteers. They will be joining people such as Alan McSherry, a volunteer warden working with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust in the Cotswold Water Park who has been visiting his local nature reserve for more than 20 years. The enhanced management of the nature reserves will increase opportunities for local people and visitors to see wildlife.

Gillian French, Biffa Award Head of Grants, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to support a project that is working to transform an area for people as well as wildlife. Improving the habitat across the three nature reserves will mean more wildlife and wild spaces for the community to enjoy.”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with the On the Wing project, please contact Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust on 01452 383333 or email info@gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk.