Nature Improvement Areas in Rugby.
Funding for these projects in the Rugby area is from the government Nature Improvement Grants (NIA) scheme from DEFRA.
Rugby area wasn’t one of the 3 chosen Midland areas but when one dropped out we were allocated a small part of the money.
This enabled the Rugby projects, and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) took on the task of disseminating these funds without full resources to do it. They were not able to manage these projects but only find the sites, contractors, arrange the contract and pay them. The rest has been up to local volunteers.
Two sites were chosen, both on the well-loved Great Central Walk along the route of the old Great Central Railway, one at Newton and one at St. Peters Cutting in the town.
Recent extensive work by Rugby Borough Council (RBC) at Newton to remove the tipped infill pressuring the supports of the bridge meant the recreation of the picnic site and has given the opportunity to recreate lost species rich grasslands.
This habitat type is one of the very rarest in Warwickshire and supports wild flowers, and insects including butterflies and moths that are no longer present in the wider countryside as well as many of our smaller birds. In the 1960s virtually all the railways route was lined with grasslands managed by railway staff.
Grasslands naturally evolve to scrub and woodland unless grazed or managed for hay and this is what has happened here.
Newton Parish Council were keen to reinstate the picnic site and bring back as many of these threatened flowers and other species as possible because ultimately we all rely on the natural environment.
Rugby Group of WWT, and Butterfly Conservation – Warwickshire with support from RBC came to the rescue and so after the contractors NIA funded chainsaw work coppicing the scrub took on the big task of helping Newton PC clear it and get the recreation of the grassland under way.
It will be a year or two before the full benefits are seen and the area will need volunteers to help maintain it.
If you would like to know more about this exciting project or help in any way with this please contact:-
A member of Newton Parish Council, Mike Slater via website
or Phil or Steve in the Rugby group of WWT.
St Peters Cutting.
This is north of WWT’s Ashlawn Cutting Nature Reserve which finishes at Hillmorton Road Bridge.
The size of the reserve is only limited by the number of volunteers coming forward to look after these areas.
As the St. Peter’s cutting hadn’t been managed for years it was losing all of its ground flora and heading towards being a dark tunnel thorough trees and scrub.
It was decided to use the grant to create a glade in the cutting to preserve grassland flora by letting in sunlight and try and halt the decline.
The contractor has cleared the area and wood chippings created have been used by our Ashlawn group to improve the reserves Healthy Living Walk behind Malvern Avenue.
The future management of this area depends on finding other volunteers.
We now just need volunteers to rake off and seed with wild flowers to benefit from this work.