A threatened 18th century nature plot described as a “mecca” for wildlife lovers will be saved after the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust won a £475,000 Lottery grant to double its size and turn it into a biodiversity and community centre.
© Bob Evison
Staveley Nature Reserve will undergo a programme of ecological improvements overseen by 200 volunteers in a two-year scheme to create a “living landscape” connected by green corridors as part of the United Nations’ International Year of Biodiversity.
The Trust will use the money to buy an additional 40 hectares of land adjoining the reserve, positioned between Harrogate and Knaresborough.
“This is brilliant news for wildlife and people in Yorkshire,” said Trust Chief Executive Rob Stoneman, who called the area “an oasis of peaceful wetland wildlife”.
© John Mcarthur
“Staveley Nature Reserve is a gem of site. We now have the opportunity to engage with the current and future generation to enjoy, relish and participate in saving and expanding this Living Landscape.”
Once known as the Staveley Carrs in the natural floodplain of the River Ure, the reserve features in histories of the area dating from more than 220 years ago.
It features open water lagoons, grasslands and meadows hosting hundreds of moth and bird species, and could qualify for Site of Special Scientific Status due to the 19 dragonfly breeds found there.
© Jo Meays
Physical works as part of the project will “promote biological interest” by upgrading footpaths, bird hides and car parking, accompanied by a schedule of training opportunities in land management skills, the appointment of an outreach manager and workshop sessions for local groups.
“The HLF is delighted to play a major part in improving and extending this unique nature reserve in North Yorkshire,” said Fiona Spiers, the head of the Fund for Yorkshire and the Humber.
“Lottery players’ money will bring benefits to people of all ages here, whether through volunteering or simply enjoying the wonderful natural habitat that Staveley has to offer, while conserving the delicate ecological environment of the site for future generations.”
Visit the International Year of Biodiversity for more on the campaign.