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Bringing woodlands alive at Coombes and Churnet Valley

Last modified: 17 December 2014

Warden at Coombes Valley

Image: Chris Gomersall

On Friday (12 December 2014), RSPB Coombes and Churnet Valley welcomed friends who have helped to bring local woodlands alive. The RSPB, as part of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership (CVLLP) are helping to drive change in the landscape, making the Churnet Valley a better place for people, birds and wildlife.

Special guests included local MP for Staffordshire Moorlands Karen Bradley, Jude Walker from the West Midlands Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Committee and Shaun Thomas RSPB’s Director of Operations.

As part of the celebrations, a representative from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) officially opened the new natural play trail; the trail and other natural resources connect children to nature through play and imagination.

Jarrod Sneyd, Site Manager for RSPB Coombes and Churnet Valley says: “There have been some big changes at RSPB Coombes and Churnet Valley nature reserve over the past few years. Together with our partners and supporters, we have been working towards a shared vision. We want to connect local people and visitors to this beautiful valley and grow support for nature.

“This is an exciting time for Coombes and Churnet. Friday’s event celebrated the things we’ve achieved together to bring our woodlands alive and to say thank you to everyone who’s supported our work in the valley so far”.

This year alone, RSPB received nearly £100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through its Landscape Partnerships scheme.

The funds have been invested in natural facilities including an interactive yurt, a canopy walkway, a family play trail and extended footpaths, making the site an innovative destination for natural experiential learning for the local community. The RSPB have also been awarded grants of £190,100 from Heritage Lottery Fund and £25,500 from WREN to help protect important birds and wildlife in the Churnet Valley.

Jude Walker, Committee Member for the Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands said: “The new trail makes access to the Coombes Valley Reserve easy, and very family friendly. I will be going back to try the tree top trail as soon as it opens – it looks very exciting. The RSPB staff have worked hard and thoughtfully to engage a wider audience with the reserve, and HLF has made a valuable contribution to this aspect helping to sustain the reserve for the future.”

These developments are part of a wider programme of Heritage Lottery funded work in the Churnet Valley to restore and connect heritage assets through the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership (CVLLP). Coombes Valley nature reserve, at the heart of the Valley will provide an important gateway to the wider area for visitors.

Keith Tomkins, Partnership Manager for the Churnet Valley Living Landscape says: “Coombes Valley and our RSPB Partners have been positive and important contributors to the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership. The more we work together to protect and enhance the natural and built heritage of this special place the more we achieve.”

Karen Bradley, MP for Staffordshire Moorlands says: "RSPB Coombes & Churnet is a special place it gives me great pleasure to see the new play trail and the yurt in use. I am looking forward to coming back with my family soon.

These new developments will become an important resource for the Staffordshire Moorlands for generations to come. I would encourage anyone who hasn't yet been here to visit the Coombes and Churnet Valley, it’s a jewel in the Moorlands!"

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Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. We can all help by giving nature a home where we live.

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