Successful public appeal helps Wildlife Trust create the first nature reserve to span the River Thames

Successful public appeal helps Wildlife Trust create the first nature reserve to span the River Thames

Aerial view of Duxford Old River and Chimney Meadows by Phill Pentecost AVP

The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust announces the creation of the first nature reserve on both sides of the River Thames, thanks to the wonderful generosity of all the people who donated to the Duxford Old River Appeal and a National Lottery grant of £86,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

In July the Wildlife Trust launched a public appeal for £220,000 towards the cost of buying the farmland. Bids were also made to foundations and charitable trusts, resulting in several generous donations to the overall purchase price and the Trust’s exciting programme to enable more people to come and see wildlife on the nature reserve.

Estelle Bailey, Chief Executive of the Wildlife Trust said: “I’ve been astounded by the response to our public appeal, and I’m delighted that so many people share our vision to create one of the largest nature reserves in Oxfordshire.

“Duxford Old River is 113 acres of farmland on the south side of the River Thames opposite our Chimney Meadows nature reserve. Creating a new nature reserve on both sides of the river is an exciting project, and will create an important haven for the wildlife of the Upper Thames such as otters, curlew and dragonflies. The farmland at Duxford Old River is a vast blank canvas with so much potential for wildlife. We’ll let Mother Nature take the lead, with just a little bit of help from us to get things going.”

Estelle Bailey added: “We are especially thrilled to have received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, thanks to money raised by the National Lottery players.

“We have also received grants from Viridor Credits Environmental Company, The Banister Charitable Trust, The Schroder Foundation, Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE2) and Grundon Waste Management Ltd, and many other generous charitable trusts and private individuals. Now we can get onto the land and start planning for our work this winter and spring.”

In due course the Wildlife Trust aims to allow the River Thames to flood onto the land and hold water in ponds and pools, providing much-needed and undisturbed habitats for curlew and lapwing to breed, and large flocks of birds such as snipe and teal to overwinter here. New backwaters and a fish passage will give safe havens for fish to spawn and insects to thrive, providing more food for bats and birds.

Find out more about Chimney Meadows nature reserve