Winnall Moors to re-open on Friday 17 July
Behind the fortress of wire fencing and boarding at the River Park and Durngate entrances, Winnall Moors, Winchester has been undergoing a transformation. Gone are the slippery chalk pathways and dark, foreboding tunnels through the bushes. Now new surfaced paths and boardwalks are gracefully guiding visitors through the fen and riversides giving glimpses of watervoles and clouds of banded demoiselles. This flagship reserve is set to re-open on Friday 17th July.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust had to close the reserve to the public while they put in the new paths and opened up the scrubbed over fen. Much of the work has been carried out by volunteers who have gained a sneak preview of the site during its closure.
Martin De Retuerto, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, is Project Manager, overseeing the £1.3m five year programme of works. Alongside him is Rachel Remnant, Reserve Officer who is responsible for the day to day running of the reserve and outreach work to help achieve the vision of a reserve rich in wildlife that is part of the local community. She said: “I am delighted to be living and working in Winchester on such a beautiful reserve. In my first three months here I have already met many fans of Winnall Moors and also bumped into plenty of people who have never heard of it or dared step inside.”
Martin hopes that the new look reserve will entice in old and new visitors. He said: “We have designed the paths, signs and benches to accommodate those with mobility problems, pushchairs and wheelchairs. Often left out of the countryside by distance or terrain, we hope these people will enjoy exploring the moors and discovering the wildlife which flourishes there.”
You can meet Rachel and Martin at the reserve between 10am and 4pm on Friday 17th July when the barriers are peeled down and the first visitors can step under the stunning oak archway and over the new sturdy bridges and boardwalks.
Martin is also leading a guided walk to show off the reserve on Sunday 19th July. To book your place call 01489 774432.
Rachel is looking for volunteers to help warden the reserve. If you have a few hours to spare and would like to get involved, please contact her on 07786 777498 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information see the Winnall Moors pages at www.hwt.org.uk