Andrew’s Wood, a 28 hectare nature reserve in the South Hams, has received a grant of nearly £50,000 to help improve the prospects of Britain’s largest colony of a rare plant: the rare heath lobelia.
The Devon Wildlife Trust purchased 5½ hectares of adjoining grassland in late 2009, extending the nature reserve by 20 per cent. The new land is dominated by scrub but offers great potential for extending the reserve’s heath lobelia population.
The funding from Biffaward will transform the new landholding into high quality, flower-rich pasture through a three-year programme of scrub and woodland-edge management. The scrub clearance is due to take place shortly, avoiding disturbance to breeding birds and resident dormice. The plan is to retain sufficient areas and diversity of scrub to allow these species to feed and breed successfully, with valuable flower and fruit-bearing guelder rose and alder buckthorn being retained.
The grant will also help support management across the original landholding to bring the entire site into favourable condition.
Devon Wildlife Trust’s Jackie Gage told the Devon Week: “Landscape-scale conservation is essential in the fight to save the UK’s threatened flora and fauna. As our climate changes, wildlife will have to adapt to the new conditions or move to new areas. Both strategies require large areas of continuous wildlife habitat.
“Devon Wildlife Trust is therefore keen to extend its nature reserves wherever possible. This Biffaward funding is vital to help us to restore rare pasture habitats across the newly-expanded nature reserve to good condition, allowing key flowering plant and animal species to consolidate and expand their populations.”
For more information about this reserve visit www.devonwildlifetrust.org