Endangered animals given safe haven

A Wildlife trust has bought an area of wetland in Hitchin to secure the future for endangered animals.

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust has purchased Purwell Ninesprings Nature Reserve in Hitchin to protect water voles and otters in the area as well as other rare wildlife.

Project manager, Alison O’Dea, said: “We have managed Purwell Ninesprings Nature Reserve for the last thirty years so it was wonderful to acquire the site from the Flint family. This is the best site in North Herts for water voles. The reserve is great for other wildlife too - otter footprints have been seen.

“We will be felling a number of trees on the site because they have started to encroach on the wet meadow, where water voles like to make their nests. This vital restoration work ensures that we maintain a balanced habitat for the protection of a diverse range of wildlife. We have a great variety of woodland, meadow, reed bed and open water at the site – these habitats require careful management.”

The trust said it will also be carrying out work to make it easier for people to watch wildlife at the site. A number of choked ponds will be restored and a boardwalk and viewing platform installed, as well as viewing areas on the reserve boundary.

The scheme is part of the trust’s Wetlands for Water Voles and People project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.