A BOARDWALK providing a place for visitors to view wildlife could have to close and the pond forced to remain empty if funds aren't raised for vital repairs.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has launched an appeal to help replace the boardwalk, which it says is in "urgent need of repair", and also restore the wildlife pond at Blashford Lakes, near Ringwood.

A statement from the Trust said: "Visitors have had the perfect viewpoint for this thriving wildlife from the boardwalks that connect the wildlife hides and lakes. However, some of the boardwalks are now over 15 years old, and in urgent need of repair."

Salisbury Journal:

The boardwalk Picture by: Robert Chapman

"The increase in heavy rainfall in recent years has sped up the disintegration of the boards and the Trust needs to take action to ensure the nature reserve and its wildlife remains accessible to all."

Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve is home to a variety of species including bitterns and kingfishers as well as dragonflies and damselflies who can be seen darting over the surface of the water in summer.

"The dipping platform also requires work to fix it, and the pond itself needs relining and repairs. The Trust knows it is vital that everyone should be able to connect with nature. The new boardwalks will mean those in wheelchairs and mobility scooters are once again able to enjoy the lakes and interlinking habitats," the statement continued.

Salisbury Journal:

Picture credit: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

The Trust says it needs to raise £5,000 to complete the urgent works.

This will contribute to the £20,000 needed to reopen the boardwalk and repair the dipping pond and platform.

So far it has secured £15,000 towards the project, including a £10,000 pledge from a generous supporter of the reserve.

"Now the Trust needs your help to ensure this wonderful array of wildlife and the beautiful habitats of Blashford Lakes remain open to all," said the Trust.

"If the Trust is unable to find all the funds for this work, it may be forced to close the boardwalk and/or allow the pond to remain empty – something that would be devastating to both visitors and wildlife."

How to help

To support the appeal visit: hiwwt.org.uk/appeals/blashford-lakes-boardwalk-pond-appeal

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