Devon nature reserve needs your vote

A new Devon nature reserve on a former spoil heap is in the running to receive funding in a national competition.

But the funding from the Aviva Community Fund is awarded to projects that win the most public votes. So the charity Devon Wildlife Trust is encouraging people to vote to help the wildlife at its new Teigngrace Meadow nature reserve.

The nature reserve, right next to the A38, between Newton Abbot and Bovey Tracey, offers spectacular views of nearby Dartmoor from its summit. These slopes were originally formed from the spoil from clay workings in the Bovey Basin. Now they are covered in wildflowers that attract butterflies, bees and other wildlife, after the site was restored as a meadow.

But even before Devon Wildlife Trust adopted the site in 2015, stands of gorse and rhododendron were taking over. As these have continued to expand, footpaths have become blocked and the rare green-winged orchids and other wildflowers are getting smothered.

If DWT receives enough votes, the charity is hoping for a £10,000 award from the Aviva Community Fund to create more wildflower habitat at Teigngrace Meadow. The charity has a group of enthusiastic regular volunteers who can help remove the invasive vegetation.

But the volunteer group needs new tools and equipment and the Trust will need to use an Alpine tractor to access the steeper parts of the reserve. Funds would also allow the purchase of a water bowser, so that ponies or cattle could graze parts of the reserve at certain times of year.

DWT Nature Reserves Manager Andy Bakere said: “Teigngrace Meadow has spectacular displays of wildflowers, butterflies and birds. But invasive scrub is spreading fast – the green winged orchids are literally being smothered under the gorse, which is painful to see.

“The Aviva award would enable us to turn this scrub zone into more meadow habitat.”

People can vote to help improve Teigngrace Meadow online at by searching for ‘Teigngrace’. Voting closes on Friday 18 November.

The nature reserve is open to the public throughout the year. Running right through Teigngrace Meadow is the Stover Way, which links Newton Abbot to Bovey Tracey and Moretonhampstead, and is part of a new long distance network of walking and cycle trails.

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