A WILDLIFE garden is set to bloom with the help of a £2,500 revamp to allow more people to use it to learn about the natural world.

The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, which owns the garden at its Environmental Education Centre at the Sutton Courtenay Nature Reserve, near Abingdon, was awarded the funds from the Country Land and Business Association Charitable Trust (CLACT).

It applied for the funding in the hope of being able to provide an opportunity for adults and children to learn about nature and wildlife as it says the wildlife garden is currently poorly designed.

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The design limits accessibility, and the wildlife trust is keen for more people to be able experience it. The revamp will include plans to redraw the garden, maximising the space to allow for increased educational programmes for schoolchildren and the local community.

Herald Series: Worm digging at the Environmental Education Centre at the Sutton Courtenay Nature ReserveWorm digging at the Environmental Education Centre at the Sutton Courtenay Nature Reserve

Charlotte Evetts, from the trust, said: "Every year we welcome thousands of visitors – families, school groups, individual adults, community groups and volunteers – who benefit from the beautiful nature reserve setting and the purpose-built education centre.

"We will soon be able to enrich their experience with access to a teaching garden, showcasing wildlife-friendly gardening and modelling what visitors could emulate in their own gardens at home.

"The new garden will include a large area for growing fruit and vegetables which will allow visitors to get hands-on discovering where our food comes from, and our regular groups will be able to sow, grow and harvest their own food.

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 “In addition to this the new garden will include a raised pond, giving elderly or disabled people as well as toddlers the ability to safely take part in pond dipping sessions.

“I believe the new garden will transform the entrance to the education centre and enhance the experience of all our visitors, as well as providing an excellent wildlife habitat and helping to empower others to improve their own gardens for wildlife.”

Herald Series: Bridget Biddell, chairman of CLACTBridget Biddell, chairman of CLACT

Bridget Biddell, chairman of CLACT, said: "The garden provides an important habitat for wildlife and improving accessibility there means more adults and children will be able to connect or reconnect with nature, and learn about the natural environment through a series of educational workshops and programmes."

The CLACT trust is funded almost entirely by subscriptions and donations from members of the Country Land and Business Association, an organisation which represents nearly 30,000 farmers, landowners and rural businesses.

It provides grants to charities and community organisations who share its vision to help connect young people who are disabled or disadvantaged with the countryside and nature.

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Since its foundation in 1980, the trust has given £2m in grants to a wide variety of organisations and projects.


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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