Cheshire Wildlife Trust has issued an urgent appeal to help them buy a vital piece of land which will take them one step closer to achieving their vision for the Swettenham Valley.
The valley hosts one of the trust’s two existing nature reserves in the area – Swettenham Meadows and The Quinta (previously the home of Sir Bernard Lovell of Jodrell Bank) – but it wants to buy land to create one large haven for wildlife and visitors.
The land goes up for auction on April 26 but Joe Pimblett, from the trust, says the opportunity is too good to turn down. “Both nature reserves contain a mosaic of habitats including ancient woodland, wildflower rich meadows and a network of ponds,” he said.
“Swettenham Meadows is particularly special in that it is home to our recently restored Coronation Meadow where the now established wildflowers provide a bounty of pollen and nectar to an impressive array of pollinating insects. It’s a simple fact that our native wildlife needs more space to thrive and adapt to the increasing pressures we are exerting on the countryside. In purchasing this land we would be doing just that, extending the reserve through the valley to create a haven for people and wildlife to enjoy.”
The available plot hosts veteran trees, ponds and wet woodland which would offer not only additional linked habitat for wildlife to move into but would also enable the Trust to be one step closer in its plan to create a circular walking route around the Swettenham Valley.
Joe added: “Our plans for the land would include the removal of invasive species, restoration of the pond network and some further tree planting to extend the woodland. “This is a vital piece of the jigsaw if we are to one day create a valuable wildlife corridor in which species can move freely through the valley. We’d be grateful for donations whatever their size to help us achieve this.
“While we recognise this is only a small parcel of land its position, adjacent to our existing land, means that if we are successful – the impact this will have will be significant in protecting wildlife in Cheshire.”
Some of the wildlife species that would benefit from this restoration work would include the 14 resident species of butterfly which have been recorded at Swettenham Meadows such as the small copper, small skipper and ringlet as well as many under threat birds such as song thrushes, willow warblers, starlings and tree sparrows.
To donate to Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Swettenham Valley land purchase appeal visit: www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/landpurchase_swettenham