Since I first discovered Gwent Wildlife Trust Magor Marsh nature reserve and the Gwent Levels three years ago, they have become an important part of my life.
Being a long term carer and also working, I realised I was getting little time to myself, which wasn’t good for my mental and physical wellbeing.
I have always had an interest in nature, wildlife and photography, so I bought a cheap camera and started to look around for somewhere to see wildlife and photograph it.
A quick search on the Internet and I discovered Magor Marsh, which was only a 10 minute drive from my house, which was ideal as I could get home quickly if any problems should arise.
I was amazed that in a relatively small reserve, variety of habitat and wildlife and have become a very regular visitor.
I got to know the Marsh very well and met a lot of the Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT) staff and volunteers. They were all very friendly and approachable and with a vast collective knowledge of nature and the environment which they were happy to share.
Since then, my confidence has built and I bought a better camera with a large lens and my photography and editing skills have developed, along with the patience and field craft to produce better photographs.
Again this has been with the help and support of GWT staff/volunteers and other photographers I meet there and share photographs with online.
I have always found something to see and photograph at Magor Marsh. The obvious highlights have been photographing Otters, Kingfishers, Great White Egret and Cranes at the reserve along with the very timid Water Voles that have been reintroduced by GWT.
I meet and chat with many visitors to the Marsh and many share my experience of “escaping” into nature, either from caring duties, their own mental health issues or just the rat race of modern life. Much of the reserve is also accessible for people with physical disabilities.
It is great that we have such rich resource at Magor Marsh, which along with the many other reserves in our area, are protected, maintained and developed by Gwent Wildlife Trust.
I am very happy to support the GWT appeal fundraiser in my own small way.