Tag Archives: nature reserves

Big Wild Sleepover

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Pic: Dom Greves / RSPB

The RSPB is asking people to spend a night in their back garden or their local nature reserve to raise money and help save our wildlife.

The charity is also organising sleepout events across the UK for those who don’t have a garden or who want a wilder time in some inspiring locations. There will be special night time activities around the camp fire and a night time stroll, where you’ll be introduced to some special night creatures, including moths, nightjars, bats and twinkling glow worms (pictured above).

The Big Wild Sleepout runs from 16-22 June and is part of the RSPB’s new Giving Nature a Home campaign, which is aimed at inspiring everyone to provide a place for wildlife wherever they live and however big their outside space is.

Participants can spend a night in their garden, or at an organised sleepout event, discovering a whole world of wildlife on their doorstep. They can also help the RSPB to give nature a home by getting their sleepouts sponsored by friends and family, and firing up a barbecue, hosting a party and handing around the donation box.

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RSPB and Crossrail to restore ancient wetland

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Otters will thrive in the new reserve. FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The biggest man-made nature reserve in Europe will be created on Wallasea Island, using almost five tonnes of earth taken from London’s Crossrail project.

The soil, excavated from the construction of two 21km rail tunnels under the Capital, will transform 670 hectares of farmland on Wallasea Island, Essex, into a labyrinth of salt marshes, mudflats, lagoons.

RSPB  hopes that the Wallasea Island Wild Coast project will see the return of spoonbills and Kentish plovers, as well as  avocet, dunlin, redshank, spoonbills and lapwing to the area. Otters, saltwater fish, including bass, herring and flounder, are expected to use the wetland as a nursery, and plants, such as sapphire, sea lavender and sea aster, are expected to thrive.

The aim of this project is to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating the ancient wetland landscape of mudflats and saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture. It will also help to compensate for the loss of such tidal habitats elsewhere in England.

It is believed the island was first reclaimed from the sea by Dutch engineers centuries ago, but it was bulldozed flat 20 years ago to allow wheat and rape-growing. Four centuries ago there were 30,000 hectares of tidal salt marsh along the Essex coast, but today just 2,500 hectares remain. The Essex estuaries are among the most important coastal wetlands in the UK and are protected by national and European law.

Although the reserve will be in development until around 2019, visitors are welcome to come along and view the progress as each phase comes to life and the marshland naturally regenerates.