A NATURE reserve in the New Forest which is home to rare plants, invertebrates and reptiles has been awarded £28,000 for improvements.
Landford bog, which is around the size of 11 football pitches, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is a refuge for rare plants including heather and cross-leaved heath, bog asphodel, purple moor grass, sphagnum mosses, and carnivorous plants sundew and pale butterwort.
Nearly 30 nationally scarce invertebrates have also been recorded at the site, as well as species that are uncommon locally including the raft spider, silver-studded blue butterfly and the wood cricket.
Protected reptiles seen there include the common lizard, grass snake and adder.
The national park authority and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, which looks after the bog, have been awarded £28,000 by National Grid as part of its Visual Impact Provision project, which improves landscapes adversely impacted by the presence of existing high-voltage electricity infrastructure.
At Landford, the focus will be on diverting attention from the pylons and creating a peaceful place for walks and wildlife spotting.
The money will also be used to implement measures to prevent the bog from drying out, to secure the reserve for cattle which help manage the site for wildlife through their grazing and to improve visitor access with new kissing gates and a boardwalk.
The NPA’s landscape officer Sarah Kelly said: “Landford bog nature reserve is a small remnant of what was a much larger bog that was part of Landford Common, a typical New Forest heathland landscape.
“Many of the plants and animals found there are very rare in Wiltshire and a few are known in the county only from this one site.
“Except for the reserve and some of the fields to the south of New Road, almost all the natural heath in this area has been lost, so it’s vital that we conserve and improve this area which is so important for both wildlife and the local community.”
Environmentalist, broadcaster and chair of the stakeholder advisory group to National Grid, Chris Baines, said: ‘I am delighted that [the initiative] is helping the New Forest National Park and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to restore such a precious landscape and habitat.
“I hope we can look forward to supporting many more.”