First Step to Action in Idle Valley
Tuesday 7th October
Plans to transform the Idle Valley into a beacon nature reserve are to become a reality following the announcement of a £939,500 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant award to the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
The official announcement of the funding award will be made by the Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke MP, a Vice president of the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, when he hosts a special Living Landscapes event at the House of Commons on Tuesday October 7th. The event has been arranged to celebrate The Wildlife Trusts’ involvement in 100 major habitat conservation initiatives which together cover more than 1 million hectares. These schemes form a key part of the Wildlife Trust’s vision for enabling UK wildlife to adapt to climate change.
The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust will transform the Idle Valley into a wetland nature reserve, through enhancing natural habitats and the creation of wildlife corridors to improve conditions for the wide range of species that can be found here.
These include bats, barn owls, water voles, an exceptionally rich assemblage of breeding wetland birds and a nationally important population of wintering gadwall. A significant part of the HLF grant will be used to help purchase 219 hectares of disused gravel pits. This series of flooded lagoons is now recognised as one of the most important sites for wildlife in the East Midlands.
As part of the work on the site, the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust will be developing a series of fully accessible pathways around the reserve, so that the public can visit and enjoy the reserve without disturbing or damaging the wildlife.
Emma Sayer, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said:
“This project is great example of how we can help conserve and enhance the natural treasures that still exist on our doorsteps and has the potential to make a real difference to our region’s wildlife. The planned education and training programmes will help to develop the nature reserve as a valuable community resource with young people involved at the heart of this restoration, ensuring that this important site can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
John Everitt, Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust said: “This project shows the level of ambition of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to work at a landscape-scale for the wildlife of the county.
“The Idle Valley project will provide a Living Landscape to help our wildlife adapt to the challenges of climate change, for people to enjoy and to support learning and skills in the area.”
The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is working in close partnership with North Nottinghamshire College who have developed the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre, a new learning centre immediately adjacent to the site, supported by funds from the Alliance SSP and ERDF. In addition to providing a range of educational programmes through the College, the centre will be used as a base for volunteer programmes, open days, themed events and a Wildlife Watch Club for children from 8 to 13 years.
The Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre will also provide a training hub for schools and colleges, local interest groups and other heritage projects in the area. The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has established links with higher education and degree programmes offered by Brackenhurst College (Nottingham Trent University, School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Studies) and Riseholme College (Lincoln University).