Duo join nature reserve

PUBLISHED: 13:32 03 August 2010 | UPDATED: 13:32 03 August 2010

Neil Hutton carrying out pond dipping with children from St Peter's Primary School

Neil Hutton carrying out pond dipping with children from St Peter's Primary School

Archant

A HAVEN for wildlife on the outskirts of Portishead is attracting more visitors following the recent appointment of staff to the site.

A HAVEN for wildlife on the outskirts of Portishead is attracting more visitors following the recent appointment of staff to the site.

Avon Wildlife Trust has appointed two project officers to take forward plans for the Portbury Ashlands nature reserve.

Neil Hutton, the new community officer, has already started making school visits to talk about wildlife and introduce members of the community to the area, which is home to rare and endangered species such as water vole.

He has also organised nature walks and bird walks for groups ranging from school clubs to social walkers.

The former teacher who studied forestry and agriculture at university said: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge of engaging the public with the Portbury Ashlands reserve and ensuring it is enjoyed by a wide cross section of the community.”

The second appointment is of Bernie Darcy as reserve warden. She said: “This is an amazing reserve which acts as a gateway for wildlife into the Gordano Valley and also supports a large range of biodiversity. I am looking forward to both meeting the people who regularly visit the reserve and also introducing new people to it.”

Neil and Bernie are currently based at offices in the Albright and Wilson Building at Portishead Quay Marinas, just a short distance from the reserve, but they hope that a portakabin will soon be installed to act as an on site base from which they can work.

Pat Ellingham, a spokesperson for Avon Wildlife Trust, confirmed the trust will be taking on the management of the reserve and the formal sign-off from Persimmon Homes is expected within the next couple of months.

The nature reserve can be found close to the railway bridge at Sheepway. To talk to Neil or Bernie call 01275 817710.

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