Bystock Nature Reserve near Exmouth
Preserving our nature reserves
The Devon Wildlife Trust has launched an appeal to raise money towards the upkeep of the charity's 40 nature reserves.
Devon Wildlife Trust is responsible for looking after some of the county's most important nature sites.
In all, the charity manages 40 nature reserves which between them cover 3,300 acres. Many of the reserves - 27 of them - are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of their high conservation value.
The reserves have a wide range of habitats which are home to important species. Rare flora can be found at many of them, and species include protected birds, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, dormice, snakes and lizards.
Andrew's Wood is a haven for dormice
At Andrew's Wood nature reserve in Loddiswell, South Devon, a recent survey spotted 54 dormice, making it a real haven for the little creatures.
But the sites need a lot of care and attention - which is where you can help. The charity launched an appeal in November 2005 to raise money towards the upkeep of the reserves.
Each reserve needs an average of £10,000 a year to keep it in top condition for wildlife - that's a total of £400,000.
And the trust is also on the look-out for more volunteers to help with habitat improvements and general maintenance work.
As a result of work already done, a lot of the reserves now have full public access.
A great example of what can be achieved can be seen at Bystock nature reserve near Exmouth in East Devon.
Wembury Bay - a marine reserve
Bystock has a huge variety of habitats: heath, woods, grassland, boggy areas, and open water. Since the early 1990s, the trust has been restoring heathland by clearing away overgrown scrub.
Trust volunteers meet twice a month to carry out maintenance tasks.
Restoration work and careful management of the site has assisted heathland bird species such as the stonechat and Dartford warbler.
Several types of butterfly also inhabit the reserve, and there is a colony of dormice.
A network of paths has been created so that the public can enjoy the wildlife on show.
Trust member David Brock has been a volunteer at Bystock for 20 years: "As a member of DWT's local volunteer group I've helped raise thousands of pounds for habitat improvements," he said.
"We have also worked alongside nature reserve staff for hundreds of hours, creating paths and restoring ponds and heathland.
"It's rewarding work - we are seeing Bystock's wildlife flourish."
Devon Wildlife Trust members are being asked to back the funding appeal, and it's hoped that others will join up.
To donate towards the appeal or become a member of the Devon Wildlife Trust, contact the trust on 01392 279244. Or visit the website which is linked from this page.
last updated: 22/02/2008 at 12:25