The Cotswold Water Park is nationally recognised as a unique wetland area which is home to tens of thousands of water birds.
It is a highly valuable and nationally significant biodiversity hot spot. Up to 200 species of birds visit each year. It is home to 14 species of bats. And six of its many flower meadows are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
And that’s just for starters. The Cotswold Water Park on our doorstep is also home to otters, voles, Nightingales, Reed Buntings, rare dragonflies, Great Crested Newts and innumerable wildflower species.
Taking a leading role in the environmental welfare of the park is Cotswold Lakes Trust. The charity may be small – with just seven staff – but it aims big and in 2022 launched a £1.5 million Challenge Fund Appeal in order to help keep its invaluable work going.
The charity’s Executive Chairman, Paul Hazel, says that Cotswold Lakes Trust is uniquely placed to act as the driving force in conservation, enhancement and environmental protection in the Cotswold Water Park and as it receives no core funding, the Challenge Fund will help achieve its ambitious plans.
“We want to ensure that the Cotswold Water Park and its unique wetland landscape will remain a leading and sustainable example of how people and wildlife can successfully co-exist,” he said.
The Cotswold Water Park owes its existence to widespread gravel extraction which began in the 1920s and continues to this day. It is now a network of 180 lakes stretching across 42 square miles from South Cerney in the north, Somerford Keynes in the west, Cricklade in the south and Lechlade in the east.
“Our aim is to make sure the Cotswold Water Park remains one of the UK’s environmental gems.” said Paul.
His team of seven include a hardy bunch of rangers who always need volunteers to help with tasks such as digging up the invasive Himalayan Balsam. Volunteers also help with a range of other activities including providing information at the Visitor Information Point in South Cerney.
For more information or to donate go to www.cotswoldlakestrust.org
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