£50,000 raised in just six weeks to save beauty spot

PUBLISHED: 10:33 31 July 2015

Bystock pond. By Geoff Martin

Bystock pond. By Geoff Martin

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Bystock Pools beauty spot is on the cusp of being safeguarded for future generations, after a wildlife charity raised the £50,000 needed to buy the site.

Now, the Devon Wildlife Trust is waiting for the outcome of a funding bid to enable them to seal the deal.

In June, residents were urged to dig into their pockets to raise £50,000 by next March.

But such was the strength of feeling by local nature lovers, the cash was raised in just six weeks.

For 40 years, the reserve has been leased by the Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) from South West Water (SWW).

The trust has transformed 67 acres of flower-filled meadows, mature woodland, colourful heathland and ponds into a flourishing nature reserve.

But, earlier this year, the reserve was put up for sale by SWW, leading to fears that new owners would close it to the public. At the last minute, the sale was withdrawn and the utility company gave the DWT the chance to buy the site.

Generous donors allowed the charity to pay a hefty deposit in April, with the £45,000 balance due by March 2016.

The DWT’s Dan Smith said: “The response has been remarkable; we never expected to raise almost £50,000 in just a few weeks. It just shows how much people love having a beautiful, wildlife-rich place in their area and how people will act to save it when its future is threatened.”

He added: “When people made donations, they mentioned how Bystock was the first place they ever saw a glow worm, after years of wanting to see one; or how they gone pond-dipping there as children and wanted to ensure Bystock would still be there for their own children to explore.”

He praised the Exmouth and Bystock DWT Local Group volunteers and now they are waiting to hear if a funding bid has been successful. “This grant would complete the last piece in the jigsaw puzzle,” said Dan. “If successful, we will have raised all the funds required to purchase Bystock - and the reserve will have been secured for the future.

“We’re not quite there yet - but people’s generosity means we’re a huge step closer to saving Bystock and the wildlife that calls it home.”


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