Hills Group boosts Wilts Wildlife reserves with £270k funding

By Anita Jaynes on 6 July, 2015

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is celebrating after receiving a generous donation of £270,000 from The Hills Group. 

Awarded under the Landfill Communities Fund, the funding will be used to help the Trust manage its 40 nature reserves across the county.

Dr Gary Mantle MBE, the CEO of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust said: “Wiltshire remains a national stronghold for both downland and lowland hay meadows. For 25 years The Hills Group has provided financial support for the Trust’s nature conservation work. What started as a simple sponsorship agreement by a local company has matured into a unique relationship where the Wiltshire-based family-owned firm has provided support every year for 25 years to help protect, maintain and enhance Wiltshire’s countryside and environment. Their generosity and consistent support has been hugely important in helping to keep Wiltshire special.”

The funding from The Hills Group will used by the Trust to care for its internationally important meadows and downland reserves like Morgan’s Hill, between Calne and Devizes, Clattinger Farm near Malmesbury, and Coombe Bissett Down near Salisbury. Maintaining fences, hedges and ditches will also be achieved thanks to the support from Hills.

Over the past 70 years, a staggering 98 per cent of all meadows in Britain have lost their wildlife interest.  Although most of the remaining meadows are now recognised as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, they need careful management to protect and maintain them.

Dr Mantle said: “This involves cutting for hay after the wild flowers have set seed and achieving just the right amount of grazing by livestock to keep the vigorous grasses at bay.”

At this time of year, the Trust’s meadow reserves are at their best with many plants such as orchids in full flower and lots of butterflies feeding on the nectar.  The Trust’s nature reserves are some of the best examples in Britain of these wonderful havens for wildlife. Clattinger Farm was described by Prince Charles as “the most magical ancient series of wildflower meadows”.

Like all the Trust’s nature reserves, Morgan’s Hill is open all year round and there is free access to the reserve. Visit wiltshirewildlife.org for details.

Pictured above from left to right: Alan Pardoe, chairman and  Mike Hill, CEO, both of The Hills Group, with Dr Gary Mantle OBE, CEO of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust