Reserve handed to the people

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 October 2010

Tree planting by Mike Dilger BBC presenter  part of the  Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve Handover Celebration and Community Day

Tree planting by Mike Dilger BBC presenter part of the Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve Handover Celebration and Community Day

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A NUMBER of Portishead residents are to take part-ownership of a nature reserve on the edge of the town.

Tree planting by Mike Dilger BBC presenter  part of the  Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve Handover Celebration and Community Day

A NUMBER of Portishead residents are to take part-ownership of a nature reserve on the edge of the town.

Developers Persimmon Homes handed the Portbury Wharf reserve over to Avon Wildlife Trust (AWT) for management, earlier this month.

However, in what is thought to be the first deal of its kind, homebuyers of new homes close to the wetland reserve are to be given a stake in the wildlife sanctuary.

When certain properties overlooking the reserve are sold, owners take on a management levy which supports the trust and helps cover the cost of looking after the 100-acre site.

AWT chief executive Steve Granger said: “The arrangement reached by the local authority, Persimmon Homes, its home-buyers and Avon Wildlife Trust will provide for the creation and future maintenance of the public nature reserve.”

Hundreds of people attended the handover ceremony on October 3, despite wind and rain ahead of the 2pm start. Community groups set up information stands and as TV wildlife presenter Mike Dilger and weathergirl Jemma Cooper opened the event, the sun came out, which allowed guided walks to take place.

Wildlife is already returning to the site, once nicknamed Ashlands because it was scattered with ash from the redundant nearby coal-powered power stations that were demolished to make space for housing.

Among the species spotted this summer are curlew, dunlin, owls, bats, hawks, woodpeckers, several varieties of ducks and geese, dragonflies and an abundance of butterflies and other important pollinating insects. There is also evidence that rare water voles, great-crested newts and otters are using the site.

More about Portbury Wharf and other AWT sites can be found by visiting www.avonwildlifetrust.org.uk

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