Grundon support for ‘biggest ever’ wetland habitat at Coombe Hill

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) is creating its biggest ever wetland habitat at Coombe Hill nature reserve near Cheltenham thanks to funding from Grundon Waste Management through the Landfill Communities Fund.

The new wetland complex due to be constructed on the 3 – 5 August 2015, is an impressive ten hectares and will create a more diverse habitat for breeding waders such as lapwing, curlew and redshank. The work will also complement existing habitat in the Severn Vale, giving birds a network of useable sites in the Severn corridor, something GWT refers to as a ‘Living Landscape’.

Andrew Short, Estates Director at Grundon Waste Management, commented, “Grundon are once again delighted to be supporting the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust in creating an important habitat for local wildlife. It is particularly pleasing to know that not only will the new wetland provide a habitat for wading birds, invertebrates and insects, but also the fact that visitors to the reserve can enjoy seeing them by using the viewing hide at Coombe Hill that we have previously supported.”

The unusual ‘branch-shape’ design of the wetland will create shallow edges which are perfect muddy feeding areas for birds and are within view of the Grundon viewing hide at the nature reserve, so visitors will be able to get close to view the birds without disturbing them.

“After a long time in the planning it is an incredibly exciting project to finally see being delivered on the ground. Not only will the wetland enhancement provide improved habitat for our native ground nesting wading birds, it will also produce an interesting feature that people can enjoy when they visit Coombe Hill nature reserve, making the spring time mating displays of lapwing all the more special to watch.” explained Del Jones project manager for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

“By utilising the RSPB’S rotary ditcher we can create extensive wetland features with minimal ground disturbance in record time. The features the machine creates will effectively be wide, shallow depressions which as they dry out throughout the spring/summer leave lots of muddy edges for wading birds to forage for food and feed their chicks. The wetland will also have knock on benefits for invertebrate communities such as damsel and dragonflies and provide additional habitat for the endangered European eel to mature.”

The nature reserve is just off the A38 between Gloucester and Tewkesbury, at the bottom of the little lane next to the Swan Pub at Coombe Hill. There is a small car park and free access to the nature reserve. There will be heavy machinery on site to create the scrapes and ditches over the three days – so please expect localised disturbance if planning to visit.

Grundon’s support of the Coombe Hill project follows on from funding provided to GWT’s new wild play trail at Frome Banks nature reserve. Balancing beams, benches, rope bridges, a wooden xylophone and see-saw are among the new wild play equipment just being installed as part of the project.

Opened as part of the Stroud Festival of Nature in June, Grundon funded some of the new play equipment. Over the coming months GWT will also be making improvements to the path so that it isn’t so muddy and buggies will be able to reach the play area too. There will also be the addition of a pond dipping platform near Capel Mill and a few wood sculptures and benches for people to sit and watch the resident kingfishers and dippers.

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