It’s good news for nature lovers visiting Brandon Marsh near Coventry, Ann Evans reports.

 

Pic Brandon Reach Credit Paula Irish

Pic Brandon Reach Credit Paula Irish

Visitors to Brandon Marsh near Coventry are set to get a new, accessible nature reserve thanks to a £47,329 grant from FCC Communities Foundation.

The money will be used to provide access gates for all, improve the path network and provide interpretation and way markers at Brandon Reach, a new nature reserve launched in 2019 just north of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Visitor Centre at Brandon Marsh on the south-east outskirts of Coventry. Paths will also be improved at the much loved and used Brandon Wood, which is managed by the Friends of Brandon Wood.

Karl Curtis, Director of Reserves and Community Engagement at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, believes the facility will make a huge difference to people living in the area. He says: “This project will provide a real boost to the people of Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire and beyond who visit Brandon Wood or Brandon Marsh. It’s fantastic that FCC Communities Foundation has awarded us this money and we’re really looking forward to some exciting improvements taking shape over the next six months. The recent challenge of COVID-19 has really highlighted the need for accessible and well-connected green space, which this project will achieve.”

 

Pic Brandon Reach Credit Daniel Loveard

Pic Brandon Reach Credit Daniel Loveard

FCC Communities Foundation is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community projects through the Landfill Communities Fund.

Richard Smith, FCC Communities Foundation Senior Grant Manager says: “We’re delighted to be supporting the access improvements at Brandon Reach and continuing to improve this valuable nature reserve. FCC Communities Foundation is always happy to consider grant applications for projects that make a difference to local communities and we’re really looking forward to seeing this one take shape soon.”

Brandon Reach and Brandon Wood are already open to the public, but the Trust hopes these improvements will make the area more accessible by October, allowing visitors to discover a complex of nature reserves larger than Regent’s Park in London – right on the doorstep of Coventry. The project will enable visitors to reconnect with nature – improving their health and well-being. Existing barriers will be removed, gates will be upgraded to make them accessible for those with disabilities and on-site interpretation and way markers will be installed, encouraging people to get out there and go wild!

 

Pic Brandon Reach bluebells Credit Louise Barrack

Pic Brandon Reach bluebells Credit Louise Barrack

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is the leading local independent conservation organisation whose mission is to bring people closer to nature and create a land rich in wildlife. This year, 2020 celebrates the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s 50th anniversary.

Before establishing as a separate charity in Warwickshire, they were part of a West Midlands Nature Conservation Trust which covered the whole of Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Birmingham and the Black Country. The first meeting of that organisation was in January 1958. Due to the difficulty of managing such a large area, the different counties eventually broke off and Warwickshire Nature Conservation Trust was formed in 1970.

In 1990 they changed their name to Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and the Brandon Marsh Nature Centre was opened by Sir David Attenborough in 1992. In Solihull the Parkridge Centre was opened by Professor David Bellamy in 2002.

Since the beginning when a group of local people gathered to help wildlife thrive on their doorstep, the Trust has grown from 2 to 67 nature reserves and now has over 24,000 supporters.

Learn more of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s history, their work and the benefits of being a supporter by visiting their website. www.warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk