A WILDLIFE charity has received critical funding in part by its ‘Critical Critters’ Big Give Appeal benefitting Coombe Bissett nature reserve and other reserves across the county. 

It enables the improvement for habitat creation, enhancing grasslands and woodlands as well as boosting habitat for vital pollinators. 

Funding was received through the ‘Critical Critters’ Big Give Appeal and a generous grant was made by the John Swire 1989 Charitable Trust.

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The grant will support two new traineeships in conservation and land management to build skills and experiences that will have a lasting positive conservation impact across the county and its rare habitat - chalklands helping pollinators. 

Salisbury Journal: Chalk grasslands at Coombe BissettChalk grasslands at Coombe Bissett (Image: Wiltshire Wildlife Trust)

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Clearing areas of overgrown scrub will allow grassland to naturally regenerate with areas of wildflower meadow; in turn this will help chalk grassland butterflies such as the Chalkhill and Adonis blue to flourish.

To create the ideal habitat for solitary bees and oil beetles,  the Trust will create more short, tussocky lawns through a combination of cutting and conservation grazing with cattle and sheep.

Salisbury Journal: Duke of Burgundy ButterflyDuke of Burgundy Butterfly (Image: Steve Smailes)

Paths will be widened and glades restored resulting in pockets where sunlight can reach the woodland floor.

This improves foraging and breeding and supports the recovery and return of rare and important butterfly species that thrive in these conditions including the Purple Emperor, Pearl-Bordered Fritillary and Duke of Burgundy.