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New boardwalk and gates installed at Landford Bog nature reserve to improve public access thanks to £28,000 funding

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NATURE fans can get closer to a precious part of the New Forest full of rare species thanks to a £28,000 grant for a new boardwalk.

Landford Bog, around the size of 11 football pitches, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and 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.

Protected reptiles seen there include the common lizard, grass snake and adder.

Improvements include new kissing gates
Improvements include new kissing gates

The money was awarded to the national park authority and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust through the National Grid’s landscape enhancement initiative, which aims to reduce the impact of existing electricity transmission lines in England and Wales.

NPA landscape officer Sarah Kelly said: “A boardwalk and new kissing gates have been installed to provide better public access to the nature reserve. Conservation grazing is being carried out to prevent the bog from becoming scrubland and drying out and monitoring kits have been installed to help us report on water levels.

“We know that peat bogs are fantastic at capturing and storing carbon – keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere – so it’s really important that we protect Landford Bog.”

Nearly 30 nationally scarce invertebrates have 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.

The nature reserve is around the size of 11 football pitches
The nature reserve is around the size of 11 football pitches

Ms Kelly added: “We worked in collaboration with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to secure funding from National Grid’s landscape enhancement initiative.

“We’re now almost half-way through our five-year project to help improve Landford Bog for people and nature and already we’re making great strides with more to come by 2025.”

Future works over the next two years will include installing small dams as well as tree pollarding, which allows more sunlight to reach the ground to help wildlife thrive.

The focus at Landford has been on diverting attention away from the nearby pylons and creating a peaceful place for walks and wildlife spotting.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s conservation manager, Ashley White, said: “As well as wildlife, Landford Bog is well used by local residents. The new boardwalk provides a safe path over a wet area and encourages visitors to use a route that is naturally screened from the pylons by trees.”

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