Restoration work at Upton Warren

Tuesday 11th September 2018

View across the islands to be restored (c) Wendy CarterView across the islands to be restored (c) Wendy Carter

Restoration work to an important wetland nature reserve is getting under way thanks to funding from Biffa Award.

The work will restore a series of islands at Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s Upton Warren nature reserve between Bromsgrove and Droitwich Spa. The islands are situated in front of the Lapwing Hide at The Moors section of the reserve.

The pools and islands were originally created more than 20 years, when The Moors was extended, and provide vital habitat for breeding and over-wintering birds. Over time, the islands have gradually eroded.

Fantastic opportunity

Eleanor Reast, the Trust’s conservation officer responsible for managing the reserve, explained “This funding gives us a fantastic opportunity to restore the islands and pools in this area of the reserve. Our volunteers have done a brilliant job over the years in maintaining the reserve but the location of the islands and depth of water means that we need a contractor with specialist machinery to restore the islands.

“The contractor will also be removing the Crassula helmsii, a non-native invasive weed that is adding to the deterioration in quality of this area of habitat.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to Biffa Award for enabling this essential work to happen. It really will make a difference both to the birds that breed at and visit Upton Warren as well as the volunteers who work so hard to maintain it.”

The grant of £58,944 from Biffa Award has already paid for the resurfacing of the track to the pools, which will provide access for conservation vehicles for future management work as well as providing better access for visitors.

Biffa Award is a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to communities and environmental projects across the UK.

Investment for wildlife and people

Upton Warren has seen significant investment in the past few years with a major restoration of The North Moors pools in 2015, a new birdwatching hide at The North Moors and restoration of islands at The Flashes pools in 2017.

The wetland reserve at Upton Warren features both salt and freshwater lagoons and pools and is a 26 hectare Site of Special Scientific Interest. The combination of freshwater and saltmarsh is unique in Worcestershire.

The site attracts a wide range of birds from breeding avocet and lapwing to migratory birds such as osprey, green sandpiper and black-tailed godwit.

Eleanor added “We expect the work to get underway on 17th September and it should last for about two weeks.

“The hide overlooking the restoration area will be open during the work although birdwatching opportunities from there will be limited! All other hides will also be open.”

Gillian French, Biffa Award Head of Grants, said “The habitat being created is vital for these birds and it’s lovely to know that the species that migrate here will be appreciated by visitors to the site as well.”