Visitor-friendly wildlife haven will be created on historic Avon island, if public gets behind the scheme AND casts votes
The Avon Navigation Trust (ANT) hopes to provide a sanctuary for birds, bats, mammals and ferried-in wildlife lovers on the currently publicly inaccessible Pershore lock island that it dramatically rescued from disaster in the winter of 2015.
The project, which will be the pilot for other ANT nature-friendly schemes, has been nominated for funding in the Aviva Community Fund, which will be decided this month by public vote at https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/17-4029.
ANT moved super swiftly to stop the successive-flood damaged island from collapse, and its engineering team was back this year to restore the fallen tree-choked weir stream.
“The lock site has been in use since 1639 and its adjacent weir, with the separate fish pathway, are critically important, not just in maintaining river levels for both users and wildlife, but also as a key part of the area’s anti-flood control measures. However, the island is a valuable wildlife resource too,” says Penny Clover, ANT’s Funding and Appeals Director.
“Now we aim to transform this currently bare patch of earth with our volunteers and have some very exciting plans in store.”
ANT has been nominated by Worcester-based Sutcliffe & Co Insurance brokers for the Aviva Community Fund.
“By creating an accessible and informative haven, the Pershore Weir Island Wildlife Project will give a reason for the local community and visitors to discover and explore our hidden riverside environment,” adds Duncan Sutcliffe, Director of Sutcliffe & Co.
The funding will pay for the materials, while ANT will supply its team to support volunteers to carry out the planting and construction work on the 3230 square metre island.
They aim to:
• Create a wildflower meadow and wildlife- friendly garden, attracting pollinators, insects, mammals, bats and birds.
• Build a shelter and hide so that visitors can spot those more secretive river inhabitants.
• Establish a pond and wetland area.
• Plant local Pershore heritage plum trees.
• Build a ‘paddlers path’ for canoe portage around the lock.
• Install information boards about the navigation and animal life.
• Team up with The Angel Hotel at Pershore to run bespoke boat trips for groups and then establish more regular cruises as the project develops.
“This project will also be a valuable pilot scheme for other wildlife areas planned by ANT, as the river authority and responsible with volunteers for the long term maintenance of similar lock sites along the whole River Avon,” adds Penny.