A new 5-year agreement has been reached for a community group led by Jane Vanstone to take over the management and enhancement of the Kenwith Nature Reserve. In partnership with the Council and North Devon Biosphere the newly formed Friends of Kenwith Valley have already unveiled ambitious plans to improve the site for wildlife while at the same time creating better access for visitors to enjoy this unique corner of Bideford.
The reed beds are already home to breeding reed warblers, sedge warblers, reed bunting and water rail. Local botanist Bob Kirby has also recorded an astonishing 240 wild flower species including several North Devon rarities such as Curled Pondweed and Blunt-fruited Water Starwort. The area is also home to several species of Bat, Otters, Harvest Mice and Water Shrew and the hope is to preserve this habitat and encourage further growth in both the variety and numbers found there.
There will be plenty of work for the Friends group, and volunteers they hope to recruit, in ensuring the grasslands and coppice are maintained and rotated. But the planned schemes will also include the provision of nest boxes for birds, floating islands on the Sanctuary Lake and creating wood and fauna habitats for insects, reptiles, hibernating animals and even Fungi!
Safe and better public access is also a top priority and the society wants to explore educational opportunities for local schools and colleges by creating seasonal nature trails, guided walks, open days and volunteer work parties.
Councillor Alan Whittle – Lead Member for the Environment said:
“I’m really excited that the Council has been given this opportunity to work with the Friends of Kenwith Valley in securing a bright future for the Local Nature Reserve. The plans to enhance the site, for both wildlife and visitors, is something I hope many people will be able to get behind by volunteering. I’m sure it will be an asset for the community for many years to come.”
Jane Vanstone – Leader of the Friends of Kenwith Valley said:
“The Kenwith Valley Reserve is a wonderful place and we want to make it more accessible and family-friendly. We will be making a good walking path around the reed bed lake and allowing people through to the waterside of the sanctuary lake. We’re fortunate to have Mike Towns the original creator of the reserve working with us and look forward to expanding the reserve in the coming years”