Nature reserve at Cheston Combe Wood South, Backwell

Backwell is a village just seven miles south west of Bristol. With a population of 5,455, it punches well above its weight as an environmentally aware community.

In January 2005, Backwell Environment Trust (BET) was set up as a charity by the villagers with the objective of purchasing a local woodland and creating a nature reserve. Having succeeded with this, the Trust has now acquired a second area of somewhat neglected woodland - to be known in future as Badgers Wood Nature Reserve. This has been possible because of a £59,578 grant from the Landfill Communities Fund, which was provided by Viridor Credits working in close association with Yanley and North Somerset Environmental Company (YANSEC).

According to Bill Charnock, chairman of BET, buying the woodland was not without its moments. Most, but not all of the 4.75ha (11.75 acre) wood was owned by a large company that underwent an internal reorganisation during the negotiations. Nevertheless, a deal was finalised and BET has started to implement its woodland management plan.

As Ian Chambers, the leader of BET Volunteers explains: "The ecology of Badgers Wood is divided in two. To the west, the land is predominantly flat with dry, thin soils overlying hard limestone bedrock. These areas were once extremely rich wildflower meadows and the small area of meadow that survives shows an amazing diversity of flowering plants, including the increasingly rare bee and pyramidal orchids. "To the east, steeply sloping woodland is in almost permanent shade, giving rise to ferns and fungi nestling under exposed limestone cliffs. Wildlife on the reserve includes peregrine falcons and rare dormice may even be present.

"Our plan is to remove scrub and bracken, coppice trees and restore overgrown sections of rare limestone grassland. We also aim to improve access and create new hedgerows. Subject to planning permission, we would like to create a small car park and wheelchair-friendly path with benches to make the most of a stunning viewpoint".

Featured Projects

View All Projects