Jigsaw success will save crucial Avalon Marshes site

A vital piece of wildlife habitat in the Avalon Marshes is to be saved for future generations thanks to a successful Somerset Wildlife Trust fundraising appeal.
The local conservation charity took on the challenge of raising £55,000 in six weeks in order to take up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase the land, which represents the last crucial piece in a jigsaw of important wildlife habitat in the area. The 12 acre site, which immediately adjoins the Trust’s Westhay Heath Nature Reserve, is a haven for key species such as otters, bittern, kingfishers and marsh harriers.
Thanks to kind donations amounting to £43,000 from Trust members and supporters, and a generous legacy left to the charity with instructions for it to be spent in and around the Westhay area, Somerset Wildlife Trust can today announce that it is able to proceed with the land purchase.
Head of Land Management for Somerset Wildlife Trust, Tim Youngs, says:
“We are thrilled that we are able to purchase this land, and wish to extend a huge thank you to all who have supported our Jigsaw Appeal. We are always overwhelmed by the generosity of our members and supporters, and it is thanks to them that we will be able to save this important wildlife habitat for the future.
“The land adjoins our Westhay Heath Nature Reserve in the Avalon Marshes, a vital area for migratory and resident water birds. This last piece in the jigsaw will provide a vital extension to the area of reed bed and pools of open water upon which bittern, bearded tit, kingfisher, otter and marsh harrier depend.
“Thanks to the success of the appeal, we will now be able to create a larger, more resilient expanse of wetland habitat that enables wildlife to move across the landscape and provides greater protection against localised extinction.”
The Trust hopes to complete the purchase of the land within the next few months. To keep up to date with progress, please keep an eye on somersetwildlife.org/jigsaw.
A community connection
Messages left on the Trust’s fundraising page demonstrate just how much the appeal has captured the hearts of many of the charity’s members and supporters:
“Thank you very for all the incredible work that you do in the Westhay Heath Nature Reserve. I do hope you will be able to purchase the land and complete your jigsaw. Bonne chance!”
“Good luck and thank you for helping preserve the precious things in life for all to enjoy.”
"Keep those Bitterns booming!”
“As landscapes become increasingly fragmented it's opportunities like this that cannot be missed, to not only develop a connected living landscape but to secure the survival of many species from localized extinction.”
“It is very important to protect our wildlife and open spaces. Not just for now but also for future generations.”
“Donating in memory of my mum, on behalf of her husband. Mum loved the Somerset countryside and would be very proud to be part of purchasing this valuable habitat.”
Leaving a gift in your Will or in memory of a loved one is a very powerful way to support Somerset Wildlife Trust. A gift to the Trust is a gift to nature, and will help to sustain Somerset’s glorious natural environment for future generations.  To find out more about you how you can leave a living inheritance that chirps and tweets, rustles and slithers, splashes and squeaks, please visit somersetwildlife.org/legacy.