The World Land Trust's only UK project and location of its "Trees for Peanuts" scheme, is starting to undergo rapid development with the help and hard work of the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV), as well as other local volunteers.
Kites Hill Farm, located in the beautiful Cotswolds countryside, was donated to the WLT in 1999 by local resident Jane Pointer, to conserve it for its wildlife and to promote sustainable practice. The 40-acre site lies within a designated "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" in Gloucestershire, UK, and has been included by the European Commission on the "Natura 2000" list registering a "network of the most important nature conservation sites in Europe". Part of it is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Progress on the creation and development of the nature reserve, has previously been delayed over the last year, due to the foot-and-mouth crisis restricting access to the site, as well as a lack of financial resources. Now restrictions have been lifted, and an injection of funds has been received from the John Ellerman Foundation, work on the reserve has finally started.
Plans for the reserve include the conversion of the grazing to organic status; extension of existing native Beech woodland (the SSSI); construction and hanging of owl and bat boxes; and the creation of an educational resource for schools and the public to learn about conservation. In addition, monitoring programmes will be set up with local conservation groups, such as the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the Bat Conservation Trust, to see any improvements in floral and faunal biodiversity.
Work began on the 5th March 2002, over a two-day working party with the BTCV carrying out essential maintenance work on the beech woodland. Two full days were spent re-coppicing trees, and clearing the woodland floor to allow re-generation, and to encourage forest undergrowth. Glades were also created to encourage wildlife such as the Fritillary butterflies. A follow up working partyis being organised to carry on with woodland maintenance, and to begin tree planting.
A carpenter local to the WLT office in Suffolk, Chris Burgess, has also been volunteering his time to construct and hang brand-new owl boxes, all of which have been created using wood certified as sustainable and carrying the FSC logo. 5 owl boxes can now be seen, located around Kites Hill, and plans to make different owl boxes, to attract Little Owls and Tawny Owls, as well as bat boxes, are underway.
Press release also available as PDF file (with images):
BTCV Gets Going on Kites Hill (182KB - opens in new window)
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