Avon Wildlife Trust wins grant to entice rare birds back to Gordano Valley

PUBLISHED: 06:27 29 April 2018

‘Gordano Valley’ © Massif, Flickr

'Gordano Valley' © Massif, Flickr

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A wildlife charity is trying to entice rare birds back into the Gordano Valley.

Lapwings are being encouraged to return to the area by Avon Wildlife Trust with their sightings greatly diminished in recent years.

Conservation experts are working to restore the wetland habitat which stretches 80 hectares between Clevedon and Portishead.

Over the past quarter of a century, the number of lapwings in Avon has dropped by almost 90 per cent.

Their demise has seen them receive a ‘red’ warning in conservation terms.

Eric Heath, Avon Wildlife Trust’s head of land management, said: “Where once we’d see and hear the unique call of lapwings above us in this landscape, these wading birds are now rarely seen.

“We’re now working hard on our Weston Moor and Clapton Moor nature reserves to create the habitat that will not only bring them back, but will also benefit other plants and wildlife which flourish in wetland areas.”

To make this possible, the trust has received a grant through waste contractor Biffa’s Landfill Communities Fund.

The money will enable the trust to work with farmers to provide the right conditions for lapwings to flourish – the birds need open ground with short, sparse vegetation to breed effectively.

Eric believes it will not be just lapwings which benefit.

He said: “The Gordano Valley, with its peat moors and interlocking system of watercourses, is hugely important for migrating wetland birds.

“Connected to the Somerset Levels and Moors, this landscape is one of the largest areas of coastal wetland in England.

“Improving this habitat for lapwings will help many other wetland birds and other wildlife in years to come.”

Gillian French, Biffa Award’s head of grants, said: “We’re thrilled to support this project which is working to bring back such an iconic bird.

“The work Avon Wildlife Trust is carrying out is essential to providing these birds with a future.”

Volunteer teams from local communities are already regularly helping with conservation work on Clapton Moor and Weston Moor.

The lapwing project is a chance for other community groups and individuals to get involved in practical work to manage this special habitat for wildlife.

Anyone keen on getting involved can visit avonwildlifetrust.org.uk/volunteer

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