Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has launched a public appeal to save Bay Meadows on the outskirts of Marlborough. £60,000 will allow the Trust to purchase the site, to create a haven for threatened wildlife and make it more accessible for people. Click here to donate.
Bay Meadows is a strategically important wildlife corridor between Ogbourne Maisey and Marlborough. It features 1.3km of the River Og, a ‘gin-clear’ and internationally rare chalk stream, and 13 hectares of adjacent water meadows. It is one of the last refuges of the highly endangered water vole, and home to otters, kingfishers and wild brown trout. Watch the video here
Despite the area being a priority habitat, the site is at risk from development, potentially for light industrial use or warehousing. Alternatively, the fields could be cleared, drained and reseeded – as has already happened to other land in the flood plain. In nearby Rabley Wood, 37 new houses are being built even though there were many local objections.
Thanks to a generous loan the site has been temporarily taken off the market allowing the Trust time to raise the necessary funds. With £90,000 already secured and a grant for £250,000 applied for, the Trust must still raise the balance of £60,000.
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is calling on the public to support this urgent appeal.
Plans to enhance the site include sowing the meadows with seed and green hay to encourage wild flowers, butterflies and other insects, create new wetland habitat for snipe and other wading birds, plant trees and enhance the river for fish to spawn in.
Public access will be promoted over part of the site with the installation of a new footbridge and stepping stones over the river, to create links to the existing public bridleway and cycle track as well as the riverside walk. The Trust hopes to create lots of volunteering opportunities, involving the local community in caring for the site and the wildlife found there.
Dr Gary Mantle MBE, Chief Executive of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Bay Meadows is a wonderful space for nature and a vital link between the Marlborough Downs and the River Kennet. Please help us save this beautiful site, where we’ll create a sanctuary for rare and endangered species, and a special place for visitors to enjoy.”
To give to the appeal to save Bay Meadows and create a home for many endangered UK species, go to the website here