Rare wildlife in Landford receives a boost thanks to National Grid
Funding awarded to the New Forest National Park Authority and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is helping to improve Landford Bog to help rare wildlife and provide better public access.
The nature reserve – the size of 11 football pitches – is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is an internationally rare wet heath and bog. Nearly 30 nationally-scarce invertebrates have been recorded at Landford Bog, along with protected reptiles. The reserve is also a refuge for rare plants including heather and cross-leaved heath, bog asphodel, purple moor grass, sphagnum mosses, and carnivorous plants sundew and pale butterwort.
So far funding of nearly £28,000 from National Grid’s Landscape Enhancement Initiative (LEI) has helped to deliver measures to prevent the bog from drying out, secure the reserve for cattle which help to manage the site for wildlife through their grazing, and to improve visitor access with new kissing gates and a boardwalk.
Sarah Kelly, Landscape Officer for the New Forest National Park Authority said: ‘We worked in collaboration with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to secure funding from National Grid’s Landscape Enhancement Initiative. We’re now almost half-way through our five-year project to help improve Landford Bog for people and nature, and already we’re making great strides with more to come by 2025.
‘A boardwalk and new kissing gates have been installed to provide better public access to the nature reserve. Conservation grazing is being carried out to prevent the bog from becoming scrub land and drying out, and monitoring kits have been installed to help us report on water levels. We know that peat bogs are fantastic at capturing and storing carbon – keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere – so it’s really important that we protect Landford Bog.’
Future works over the next two years will include installing small dams, as well as tree pollarding which allows more sunlight to reach the ground to help wildlife thrive.
The LEI helps fund local schemes which reduce the landscape and visual impacts of existing National Grid electricity transmission lines in English and Welsh protected landscapes (National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
The focus at Landford has been on diverting attention away from the nearby pylons and creating a peaceful place for walks and wildlife spotting.
Ashley White, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Conservation Manager said: ‘We’ll be constructing leaky dams to help create pools of standing water to improve the bog’s wetness and preserve this rare habitat. As well as wildlife, Landford Bog is well-used by local residents. The new boardwalk provides a safe path over a wet area and encourages visitors to use a route that is naturally screened from the pylons by trees.’