MP opens new nature trail
PUBLISHED: 12:22 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:23 06 May 2010
A picturesque trail through some of the finest countryside opens tomorrow (Friday). The heathland public trail will join Sandy with the RSPB s Lodge shop. The trail will be officially opened tomorrow night by North East Beds MP Alistair Burt who will be a
A picturesque trail through some of the finest countryside opens tomorrow (Friday).
The heathland public trail will join Sandy with the RSPB's Lodge shop.
The trail will be officially opened tomorrow night by North East Beds MP Alistair Burt who will be accompanied by Sandy Town councillors and RSPB staff.
The path is the first section of a new one-and-a-half mile network of public trails being created by the RSPB over the next few years.
It links Sandy town, running parallel to the B1042, and has been possible thanks to the RSPB's removal of an old conifer plantation and restoration of scarce heathland at its national headquarters.
The plan for the heathland walk began in 2003 when the RSPB purchased 59 hectares of land in the parish of Sandy known as Sandy Warren incorporating Redstone Hill, Beeston Dean, Galley Hill and Bunkers Hill.
Most of the land was, at the time of purchase, mixed conifer plantation ranging from 35 to 90 years old. Wooded areas will be retained to maintain the existing appearance of a wooded ridge overlooking Sandy while selected Scots pine, Douglas fir, birch and all native broadleaved trees will be retained within the cleared areas.
Sandy Town Council gave £1,500 towards the path's construction and signs.
More conifers will be felled this autumn creating extra public access and educational opportunities, exposing one of the region's finest Iron Age hill forts and boost the population of birds and insects on the site.
RSPB site manager Peter Bradley said: "This area of the nature reserve was cloaked in conifers just a few months ago, preventing public access and smothering the site's wildlife.
"It's wonderful to see to see people enjoying access again and having the chance over the coming years to see stunning heather heathland restored in the county."
Other donations towards the project came from Heritage Lottery, which gave £62,000 for the land purchase, and English Nature's Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund which donated £257,000.
Biffaward gave £49,000 towards heathland maintenance and recreation work including tree planting, grazing and the new welcome kiosk. Grantscape donated £21,700 that will be used to finance sheep fencing and humic layer removal on Sandy Warren.
The SITA Trust, which distributes funds from the Government's landfill tax credit scheme, gave over £71,000 towards the restoration of Sandy Ridge.