Exmouth reserve benefits from ‘landfill tax’

Bystock’s silver studded blue butterfly gets conservaton award

BYSTOCK nature reserve near Exmouth is to benefit from a �9,000 award for conservation work.

The Devon Wildlife Trust has been awarded the money by Pennon Environment Fund, which distributes funds to environmental projects that Pennon subsidiary company Viridor would otherwise pay in landfill tax.

The money will go towards two projects, one being to enhance habitat at Bystock nature reserve to boost the population of silver studded blue butterflies, and the other to concentrate on wider restoration work and scrub clearance at five of DWT’s other lowland heaths at Bovey Heathfield, Chudleigh Knighton, Hawkswood, Ashculm Turbary and Lickham Common.

The work at the Exmouth reserve follows last year’s news that the silver studded blues had been seen there for the first time in 20 years.

This is a significant milestone for the Trust, which has, with the help of local volunteers, been managing the site to try and make conditions right for the butterfly.

Silver studded blues rely on the help from ants which tend the butterfly’s larva. The ants need open scrapes of bare ground to build their nests. It is this habitat that the project is looking to create.

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Matt Boydell, DWT’s land management manager said: “This is a significant boost for us and will help in delivering specific habitat improvements on these important Devon reserves.

“Managing nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife is an expensive business. We welcome this new funding which will allow us to conduct some significant work this winter to help rare species that thrive on the remaining lowland heathland that exists in the county.”

The funding will also benefit the Trust with some of the money helping to replace two chainsaws and purchase a new trailer to help with the day-to-day conservation on the sites.

More information about these nature reserves can be found at www.devonwildlifetrust.org.

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