Gwent Wildlife Trust launch appeal to create new nature reserve on the Gwent Levels.

Thursday 21st March 2019

Main reen at Bridewell Common. Photo: Rob WallerMain reen at Bridewell Common. Photo: Rob Waller

We have launched a fundraising appeal to create a new nature reserve within Wales’ biodiversity equivalent of the Amazon rainforest - the Gwent Levels.

We want to purchase Bridewell Common near Magor, to protect the ancient marshland for wildlife and people now, and for future generations.

Our proposed new reserve at Bridewell sits adjacent to our flagship, oldest and most well-known reserve at Magor Marsh, which has been in Gwent Wildlife Trust’s care for more than 50 years.

We aim to further enhance Bridewell Common to complement their Magor Marsh Nature Reserve – with both places situated within the Gwent Levels, a nationally important landscape known for its diversity of wildlife.
Every year, thousands of people of all ages visit Magor Marsh, which is home to millions of creatures, including rare beetles and endangered mammals like Water Voles and Otters.
To fulfil our plans for Bridewell, we need people’s support in helping us raise the funds to purchase the 81 acres of land and make it into a nature reserve.
Through our Bridewell Appeal, we are hoping to raise at least £250,000 by July.

Appealing for support our Gwent Levels Living Landscape Manager Gemma Bodé said she hoped people will see the fabulous opportunity to invest in this important area.  
Gemma said: “Bridewell Common in Magor is such an important piece in the overall wildlife jigsaw of the Gwent Levels.
“Sadly, more and more of our important green spaces and wildlife havens are being squeezed out of existence, especially on the Levels. So, when presented with the opportunity to purchase Bridewell Common, we felt we had to secure this important area in perpetuity, to the benefit of both wildlife and people. By supporting our appeal everyone can do their bit to help.
“No donation is too big, nor too small – every single penny we receive will help towards our work to protect all the precious creatures great and small found on the Gwent Levels.
“If anyone would like to fundraise with their group or business or is able to make a major contribution we would be happy to offer them a tour of Bridewell Common.”

Recent wildlife surveys carried out on Bridewell have found it is already home to a wide variety of creatures including critically endangered Water Voles, butterflies, dragonflies and birds including Snipe, Stonechat and Reed Bunting.

However, to restore this landscape to its full potential, substantial conservation management is needed on the land and drainage ditches, in order to make it a home for wildlife on a par with Magor Marsh.

Gemma added: “Anyone who has ever visited our Magor Marsh Nature Reserve will know how special and vital that reserve is for wildlife, as result of the long term conservation work by Gwent Wildlife Trust and our loyal volunteers and supporters.
“Given time and money we now have this unique opportunity to create another nature reserve on the Gwent Levels and plan to make Bridewell Common as special for wildlife and people as Magor Marsh.
“Having these two conservation-managed landscapes so close together will perfectly complement each other and will allow for more endangered wildlife to flourish over a larger area.
“Please support our Bridewell Common fundraising appeal.”

Naturalist Iolo Williams said: “The Bridewell Appeal really is everyone’s chance to support Gwent Wildlife Trust’s efforts to keep this wonderful corner of the Welsh Amazon - the Gwent Levels, secure for wildlife and people, now and for the future.
“I urge everyone to support the Bridewell Appeal in any way they can.”

To donate directly to the Bridewell Appeal visit: www.gwentwildlife.org/appeal or call 01600 740600.

We're also holding an official Bridewell Appeal launch event on April 9. Anyone who is interested in finding out more or getting involved in the Bridewell Appeal is welcome to attend.
The launch event at Magor Baptist Church hall, The Square, Magor, NP26 3HYH starts at 3.30pm with presentations at 4pm, followed by Q&As and discussion until 6.30pm.


Other ways for people to get involved in our Gwent Wildlife Trust Bridewell Appeal include:

• Donating by card over the phone by calling 01600 740600. Sending a cheque payable to Gwent Wildlife Trust, to Gwent Wildlife Trust, Bridewell Appeal, Seddon House, Dingestow, NP25 4DY.
• You can buy tickets for the Gwent Wildlife Trust Lottery For Wildlife and as well as helping the Bridewell Appeal you will be in with a chance of winning a monthly cash prize: www.gwentwildlife.org/LotteryForWildlife
• Take part in Gwent Wildlife Trust’s 10k Race for Wildlife event on May 12, which is this year in aid of the Bridewell Appeal. Find details online here:
https://www.gwentwildlife.org/raceforwildlife
• If you think you can help Gwent Wildlife Trust’s Bridewell Appeal in any other way please call 01600 740600 or email info@gwentwildlife.org