Frequently Asked Questions

 

  1. What is the Gloucestershire Nature Reserves Fund?
  2. What is the State of Nature Report?

  3. Where are your nature reserves? 

  4. Where is Coombe Hill?

  5. Where is Lower Woods?

  6. Where is Greystones Farm?

  7. What are land management plans? 

  8. How do you decide on best practice?

  9. What contractors do you use?

  10. What are floodplain meadows?

  11. What makes a reserve nationally important? 

  12. What are 'scrapes'?

  13. What is lowland heath?

  14. What are priority species?

  15. What are the differences between trenches, rides and glades?

  16. What does coppice mean?

  17. What is 'baseline resilience'?

  18. How will you know if reserves have improved? 

  19. How does our work benefit wildlife throughout the county?

  20. Don't my membership subscriptions already contribute to nature reserve management?

  21. How can I donate?

  22. How else can I get involved with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust?


1. What is the Gloucestershire Nature Reserves Fund?

The Gloucestershire Nature Reserves Fund is an important new initiative for our nature reserves. We know that our nature reserves are now more important than ever, and we need to increase the investment in these reserves. The Fund will provide vital funds for some of our most urgent projects and enable us to take action to help important habitats build long-term resilience in the face of external pressures. With the excpertise of our staff and volunteers, we are uniquley placed to lead and deliver land management programmes to protect and secure the county's rich and varied landscapes, vulnerable wildlife and iconic species. 


2. What is the State of Nature Report?

The State of Nature Report has been compiled from leading professionals from over 50 wildlife organisations pooling expertise and knowledge to present the clearest picture to date of the status or our native species across land and sea. The report reveals that over half (56%) of UK species studied have declined since 1970, while 15% are under threat of disappearing from our shores altogether. You can download a copy of the report here.


 

3. Where are your nature reserves?

GWT have over 60 nature reserves across Gloucestershire for you to discover; from wetlands in the Severn Vale, cliff-hugging woodlands along the River Wye, heathland in the Forest of Dean, to wild daffodils around Newent, flower filled meadows in the Cotswolds, lakes n the Cotswold Water Park and ancient woodlands in the Stroud Valleys. You can discover them all here.


4. Where is Coombe Hill?

Coombe Hill nature reserve is located north of Gloucester off the A38. The reserve consists of a canal and meadows in an historic landscape in the heart of the River Severn floodplain. It is a very special site for wetland birds, particularly waders and migrating waterfowl. Snipe, redshank, oystercatcher, lapwing and curlew are just a few of the many species sighted here, as well as spectacular numbers of overwintering wildfowl during times of high water. Visit the reserve page to find out more and plan your visit.


5. Where is Lower Woods?

Lower Woods is one of the largest ancient woodlands in the south-west of England and covers three square kilometres. The reserve has 23 woods and coppices whose boundaries have remained unchanged for several centuries. The reserve is located between Wickwar and Hawkesbury Upton, off Inglestone Common. Thousands of species have been recorded, so there is always something to see and hear.Visit the reserve page to find out more and plan your visit.


6. Where is Greystones Farm?

Greystones Farm is located on the outskirts of the busy tourist village, Bourton-on-the-Water, it's hard to believe that this tranquil sanctuary exists so close by. The reserve boasts an archaeology walk, with a scheduled ancient monument dating back to the Neolithic age, and visible ramparts. It is an excellent place to escape to, with glorious wildflowers meadows. The River Eye runs through the reserve and provides a multitude of wildlife to discover, including heron, butterflies, otter and the much-threatened water vole. Visit the reserve page to find out more and plan your visit. 


7. What are land management plans?

Depending on the size of the nature reserve, it can be made up of multiple habitat types, with different species relying on that reserve. Each habitat type or species may demand different management requirements throughout the season. We do not manage our reserves for single species unless the management for a single species also benefits a whole range of species on a particular reserve. A management plan is written for every reserve GWT maintains, and helps steer the continuity of management that the resident wildlife needs to exist. 


 

8. How do you decide on best practice?

We don't, we follow best practice as

Best practice is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things. 

Best practices are used to maintain quality as an alternative to mandatory legislated standards and cab be based on self-assessment or benchmarking. Best practice is a feature of accredited management standards. 


9. Why do you use contractors?

Contractors are able to provide specialist skills, experience and machinery which either we, as a Trust, don't have, or is too expensive for us to own. Contractors are also a much more efficient way of carrying out work than for us to use staff and/or volunteer time. A contractor with specialist machinery could carry out work in less than half that would it would take us with everyday equipment. The type of contractors we use ranges from agricultural, forestry, and planning, to law, grazing, hay cutting, building and tree surgery. 


 

10. What are floodplain meadows?

Floodplain meadows are part of a quintessentially English landscape that would have been found throughout Britain's river valleys 100 years ago. Throughout the spring and early summer, they are awash with wildflowers and grasses, humming with insects and the birds that depend on them. They provide a vibrant and beautiful spectacle that was once taken for granted but has now all but disappeared. 

They evolved over many hundreds of years through the need to sustain cattle, sheep, and horses over the winter months, by storing the summer grass crop as hay. The annual cut in the midsummer followed by grazing prevents the taller coarser species from becoming dominant and has created the diverse flower-rich sward we see today. 


 

11. What makes a reserve nationally important?

Many of our nature reserves are sites of national conservation importance, which means they have a feature, species or habitat present which has UK protected status designated under the EU Habitats Directive - Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM), Special Areas of Conservation (SAC). SSSIs are the basic building block of site-based nature conservation legislation and most other legal conservation designations in the UK are based upon. 


 

12. What are 'scrapes'?

Scrapes are shallow depressions with gently sloping edges, which seasonally hold water. They create obvious in-field wet features that are very attractive to wildlife. They support a wide variety of invertebrates and can provide important feeding areas for breeding wading birds and their chicks, when they dry out in the spring/summer leaving lots of muddy edges for foraging.


13. What is lowland heathland?

Lowland heathland is a well-known habitat type in the lowlands of the UK. It occurs on acidic, impoverished, dry sandy or wet peaty soils, and is characterised by the presence of a range of dwarf-shrubs. These include various types of heather and gorse, as well as bilberry, cowberry and crowberry.

Lowland heathland is a priority for nature conservation because it is a rare and threatened habitat. It has declined greatly in extent during the last two centuries - in England it is estimated that only one-sixth of the heathland present in 1800 remains - and it still faces major pressures. 

Heathland is also home to numerous highly specialised plants and animals. It is particularly important for reptiles, such as rare sand lizard and smooth snake. A number of scarce birds use lowland heathland as their primary habitat, such as the nightjar and Dartford warbler. Many scarce and threatened invertebrates and plants are also found on lowland heathland. 


14. What are priority species?

A priority species are those that were identified as being the most threatened and requiring conservation action in the UK. 


15. What are the differences between trenches, rides and glades?

A trench is an ancient grassy road, which would quite often have ditches running alongside. A ride is a track through a woodland and a glade is a cleared area or opening a woodland either naturally or man made. 


16. What does coppice mean?

Coppicing is a traditional method of woodland management which takes advantage of the fact tat many trees make new growth from the stump or roots if cut down. In a coppiced wood, which is called a copse, young tree stems are repeatedly cut down to near ground level. In subsequent growth years, many new shoots will emerge and after a number of years the coppiceed tree, or stool is ready to be harvested and the cycle begins again. 


17. What is 'baseline resilience'?

The minimum habitat requirements for a population of species to survive.


18. How will you know if reserves have improved? 

We continually carry out survey and monitoring work on our reserves to record and map species populations, distribution and diversity. This data will directly feed into the management plans of our reserves and can be compared against baseline data. 


19. How does our work benefit wildlife throughout the county?

We are working to transform the environment we live in, restoring, recreating and reconnecting wildlife-rich spaces across the county. We want wildlife to thrive, to disperse and re-colonise our landscape. Our nature reserves provide great protection for wildlife, and our work in the wider countryside, with our neighbours, other commnities, landowners and organisations, allows our nature reserves to become stepping stones for wildlife. We have adopted a Living Landscape approach to conservation. A living landscape is not just a big nature reserve, but a mosaic of reserves, farmland, amenity land and built-up areas managed in such a way that wildlfie and people can share it and which it continues to function ecologically. We are currently implementing three Living Landscape programmes across the county; Severn Vale, Cotswold Rivers and Forest of Dean


20. Don't my membership subscriptions already contribute to nature reserve management?

Membership subscriptions contribute to our work across the county as a whole, protecting the future of wildlife on our reserves and across the county and inspire and connect people with their local wildlife. Any donations received towards The Gloucestershire Nature Reserve Fund will go towards our work on our nature reserves.


 

21. How can I donate?

You can donate through our website, by calling is on 01452 383333.


22. How else can I get involved with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust?

There are plenty of other ways you can support Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. 

  • Become a volunteer - whether you have a couple of hours of a couple of days to spare, volunteering is a great way to get out, get fit and get involved in helping to protect your local wildlife.
  • Come along to one of our events - with over 150 'Wild' events taking place throughout the year, From wildlife identification courses, to practical days, to family fun days out, there is something to suit everybody.
  • Become a member - Be part of something special and really make a difference to protect and preserve Gloucestershire's wildlife for today, and the future.
  • Community fundraising - there are lots of ways you can help us raise money as an individual, community, workplace or school. Why not join us on our annual Walk 4 Wildlife in June?
  • Leave a gift in your will - by leaving us a gift in your will you can help us protect the precious wildlife of Gloucestershire
  • Adopt a species - Adopt for yourself or give the gift of wildlife and help protect Gloucestershire's valuable wildlife. 
  • Become a Corporate member - If your business wants to help local wildlife, invest in the local community and contribute to a healthier environment, you could benefit from a relationship us.