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Partnership helps ensure more people can get close to wildlife at key Nottinghamshire Nature Reserve

Tuesday 28th November

Partnership helps ensure more people can get close to wildlife at key Nottinghamshire Nature Reserve

A unique partnership has ensured that visitors to one of the region’s largest and most important nature reserves will find it much easier and more enjoyable to get much closer to the reserve’s wildlife.

A partnership between Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, which owns and manages the Idle Valley Nature Reserve near Retford in north Nottinghamshire, and the Rotary Club of Retford has resulted in the construction of a brand new boardwalk to help improve access across a boggy area of the reserve.  

The boardwalk has been constructed next to the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre and replaces a woodchip path that was previously extremely difficult to access in the winter, especially for wheelchair users or families with pushchairs and buggies. Now thanks to the support of the Rotary Club of Retford and a number of funders, a recycled plastic boardwalk will give better access to the reserve’s network of surfaced footpaths for years to come.

The Rotary Club of Retford carried out a range of fundraising activities including a sponsored walk and collections and also applied to a range of funding bodies for support. Approximately half (£11,500) of the total project cost of £24,000 was provided by funding body WREN via their FCC Community Action Fund. Other key funders included Nottinghamshire County Council & Rotary District 1220 Foundation.

The new boardwalk was unveiled by members of the Rotary Club of Retford in the presence of other key funders and Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers on 28 November 2017.

Access to the boardwalk is through a woven willow arch and the project has been eagerly awaited by regular visitors to the reserve.

Speaking about the project Erin McDaid, Head of Communications for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust said: “Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust cares for dozens of sites across the county and one of our passions is enabling people to see and enjoy the wildlife that lives on their doorstep. The funding from WREN’s FCC Community Action Fund has helped us make Idle Valley Reserve more accessible and welcoming, providing people with an inspiring gateway to the reserve. We would like to thank all our funders including WREN, Nottinghamshire County Council & Rotary District 1220 but we would especially like to thank our partners, the Rotary Club of Retford for providing the drive and inspiration to make this project happen.”

WREN is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community, conservation and heritage projects from funds donated by waste and resource management company FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund.

Cheryl Raynor, WREN’s grant manager for Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire says: “It’s wonderful to see something we have funded finally open  and ready to make such a difference. WREN is always happy to consider grant applications for projects that benefit local communities, and this is a great example of what can be achieved.”

Geraldine Matthews, President of the Rotary Club of Retford said:

“Rotarians are always delighted to pursue projects that benefit the community of Retford and surrounding areas. In addition to our main sponsors the good people of Retford were very generous in supporting the project through donations and participation in the many events we organized. In addition to raising the essential funding many of our members were involved in clearing the site and providing technical and planning expertise.”

Councillor John Cottee, chairman for Communities and Place said – “This is a lovely example of how County Council funding is benefitting local communities. Many residents now have easier access to the Nature Reserve and therefore more opportunity to enjoy our county’s varied wildlife and great outdoors”.

For more information about WREN funding contact Cheryl Raynor at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit

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