Friday, 29 June 2012

Appeal to save Oxon wildlife site launched

BBOWT needs to raise £99750 in 6 weeks
June 2012. The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) launches a public appeal to raise £99,750 in just six weeks to purchase a riverside meadow near Bampton in west Oxfordshire. If BBOWT does not reach its target in time, this rare opportunity to purchase the land known as Upper Common could be gone forever. 

Upper Common is an 11-hectare site on the edge of BBOWT's Chimney Meadows Nature Reserve. The willow-lined riverbanks and flower-filled hay meadows at Chimney are a refuge for some of England's most threatened species, including the water vole. Awash with glorious displays of wildflowers in the summer, the meadows attract butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies that flit through the nodding heads of brightly coloured wildflowers. Tragically, meadows like this are now a rare site with only 3% of traditional hay meadows remaining in England and Wales.
Neil Clennell, Head of Conservation and Education (Oxfordshire) for BBOWT, says: "With the right management we could transform Upper Common into a colourful meadow, teaming with life once again. Using green hay cut from the nature reserve we can spread wildflower seed onto prepared ground where species like knapweed, fairy flax and delicate quaking grass can flourish.
"With greater control over the water levels it will be possible to keep areas of the reserve wetter for longer, creating new wetland habitats for threatened wading birds such as curlew and snipe. There are already signs of water voles and otters on Upper Common and with a bit of work we could provide safer habitat, helping these much-loved creatures to survive. Opportunities to buy land like this are exceedingly rare. If someone else purchases this land, the vital restoration work needed on the meadow and waterways is unlikely to happen."
It's not just wildlife that will benefit if BBOWT is successful. The public will be able to enjoy a stroll through the new meadow on a circular walk taking in the delights of the nature reserve and the Thames path.

If you would like to help us secure this vital site for wildlife, you can donate to BBOWT's Chimney Meadows appeal at Alternatively, please call BBOWT's Supporters' Office on 01865 788300.

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