Wildlife Trust saddened and frustrated as third fire in three years hits efforts to make Skylarks Nature Reserve more accessible.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has today spoken of its shock and frustration after a third major fire in three years at the Skylarks Nature Reserve, off Adbolton Lane at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham, destroyed an accessible sensory wildlife watching hide and boardwalk over the weekend.

The fire, which was reported on Friday evening, has totally destroyed the facilities installed following lengthy consultation with groups and individuals about how the nature reserve, the largest in Rushcliffe, could be made more welcoming and accessible for visitors with mobility issues and disabilities.

The wooden structure and boardwalk were designed to give easy access for wheelchair users to a popular viewing point on the reserve and were located at the edge of a reed bed to provide opportunities for wildlife watching. The design of the hide was created to frame a range of views and to create changes of light and sound to enhance the sensory experience of all visitors.

Skylarks Sensory Hide Fire

Courtesy of the Nottingham Post

The skylarks sensory hide before the fire.

The skylarks sensory hide before the fire. Photo credit: Jim Voce

Speaking about the fire, which is believed to have been started deliberately and has been reported to the police, Head of Audience Development Trish Evans said: “Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is committed to making our nature reserves as welcoming and accessible as possible and at Skylarks we have invested a lot of time, energy and funding to create a range of features and facilities to enhance the visitor experience and remove barriers to access. To hear the news that our sensory hide has been burned to the ground is both shocking and upsetting, especially after the impact that previous fires have had on the reserve - but we’re determined not to give in to mindless vandals.”

Previous fires in 2016 and 2017 destroyed a specially constructed accessible pond–dipping platform and a reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon dwelling, known as a Grubenhaus, which had been hand built by volunteers.

Trish added: “We’re currently planning a major celebration of the wildlife of the site and this incident won’t put us off. We look forward to welcoming hundreds of people to our Wilder Woodland Gathering on August 21st and we’re now more determined than ever to make this an amazing event for our visitors, volunteers and the local community.”

The Wildlife Trust, a registered charity, is asking anyone with information about this incident to contact the Police by calling the non-emergency 101 number or by calling the Trust on 0115 958 8242.

Skylarks Sensory Hide Fire

Courtesy of the Nottingham Post

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