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Avon Valley Project
The VisionThe Avon Valley, in the heart of the South Hams is a rich landscape supporting a wealth of wildlife. A ‘Strategic Nature Area’ on the South West Nature Map, this cluster of County Wildlife Sites represents a concentration of the very best of the wildlife of the area.
The beauty of the landscape belies the threats it faces though. Changes in agriculture and in land ownership patterns have meant that some of the Avon Valley’s woodlands are neglected and some of its grasslands are overgrazed. This represents a problem for local wildlife, challenging the survival of species such as greater horseshoe bats, dormice and the heath lobelia.
It is a landscape on the brink, but one that can be restored and revived with some imaginative conservation work. For this reason, DWT is developing a 5 year pilot project to increase wildlife and semi-natural habitat and to monitor its health.
The ApproachThe approach we will take will be to provide a whole holding, farming and wildlife advisory service across the Avon Valley to restore and re-create precious wildlife habitat. One of our first steps will be to conduct a detailed biodiversity audit which will help us to target our effort.
Devon Wildlife Trust owns and manages a nature reserve, Andrew’s Wood, a SSSI located in the heart of the Avon Valley. This will be used as a land management demonstration site where best practice management techniques can be demonstrated alongside more radical restoration techniques.
A rigorous monitoring programme will be used that will enable us to determine whether the ecological health of the area is improving as a result of our input. We’ll be looking at trends in species such as greater horseshoe bat, cirl bunting, small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly as well as water quality, hedgerow quality and economic activity.
We hope that the Avon Valley project will play a key role in the coordination and integration of conservation delivery organisations that have a stake in the future of the area and we plan to work closely with the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre, Devon County Council, Natural England, the Silvanus Trust and the South Hams Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as other organisations with a focus in that area.
Find out more
If you want to find out more about the project, contact our Advisor or provide information about biodiversity in the Avon Valley, please email us at email@example.com