The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales has visited the M4 threatened Gwent Levels.

Thursday 31st May 2018

Wales’ Commissioner Sophie Howe recently made time in her busy schedule for a guided tour of the Gwent Levels and Magor Marsh Nature Reserve after being invited to the area by Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT).

Her visit organised by GWT was Ms Howe’s first to the area.

During her tour, which was led by GWT’s Deputy Chief Executive Gemma Bodé, Ms Howe met GWT staff, volunteers from GWT’s Gwent Levellers group, as well as chatted with schoolchildren from Henllys Primary School, enjoying an educational visit to Magor Marsh.

She even tried her hand at pond dipping catching a whole host of underwater bugs including caddisfly larvae, as well as tadpoles, stickleback fish and a variety of water snails.

GWT’s Deputy Chief Executive Gemma Bodé said: “We were delighted to host the Commissioner and show her first hand the M4 threatened Gwent Levels, an area which is as rich in biodiversity terms as the Amazon Rainforest.
“Our Magor Marsh nature reserve and the rest of the Gwent Levels landscape are not only vitally important to the numerous rare species that live there like water voles, king diving beetles and shrill carder bees, but the area is also key to the health and well-being of people.
“We invite everyone to come and see the glorious Gwent Levels for themselves too.”

Speaking about the visit Ms Howe said: “We are lucky to have an area that is home to a rich variety of wildlife, some of which I identified during my visit such as caddisfly larvae and sticklebacks.
“There is so much going on at the reserve, with people volunteering, school visits and teacher training so that to children get to interact with nature and experience for themselves the really exciting stuff going on in within the waterways, where there are literally thousands of different species, that are all really important to nature.
“It is absolutely critical that we are protecting and enhancing places like the Gwent Levels and Magor Marsh and not taking any steps to damage them. We are all aware that here in Wales and across the world there is an ongoing decline in our biodiversity which has a negative impact on the environment. Having the different types of species at Magor Marsh, some of which are unique to this area, is crucial in terms of protecting nature, wildlife, our planet and environment, now and for future generations.”

Mother-of-five Ms Howe, is a keen naturalist and has fostered the importance of wildlife and the environment on her family. She said her first date with her husband of 18 years was on a nature reserve and that she planned on returning to GWT’s special Magor Marsh with her husband and the rest of her family, in the near future.