Avon population

National Trust reveals first of 20 planned ‘green corridors’ around

The National Trust has unveiled plans for a ‘green corridor’ to link central Bath with the surrounding countryside and create new habitat for wildlife.

It is the first of 20 such corridors first announced in January 2020 and will traverse 40 hectares of riparian grassland newly acquired by the trust.

Bathampton Meadows, on the banks of the Avon, was previously a mixture of farmland and council land, and was once mooted as the site of a park-and-ride scheme.

The trust has plans for a program of planting hedges and trees along the three-mile route to create a network of foraging habitat to help the declining greater horseshoe bat.

He also intends to improve wetlands to support wading birds and stimulate wildflowers and insects.

The corridor aims to help downtown residents connect with nature. A consultation on the proposals is expected to begin in the spring.

Bathampton Meadows
The National Trust has acquired Bathampton Meadows (Tom Boden/PA)

The National Trust plans to create 19 more green corridors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by 2030.

Hilary McGrady, Chief Executive of the National Trust, said: “These routes will improve access to nature for people living in urban areas who may feel disconnected from the countryside or cannot easily access rural areas.

“Research has shown that engaging with nature is good for our well-being and those who are connected to nature are likely to do more to help protect it.”

She added: “Connecting green spaces is not only good for people, it is also good for wildlife, allowing animals and birds to move from one habitat to another.

The official start and finish point for the corridor has yet to be determined, but is expected to start near Bath Abbey and is expected to end in the village of Batheaston.

The Green Corridor will provide new wildlife habitat (National Trust/PA images)

Tom Boden, Managing Director of the trust’s Bath Properties, said: “With the grasslands now protected forever, we will be consulting closely with the local community and stakeholders over the coming months to develop an exciting vision for the land to benefit. both to people and to nature. ”

He continued: “The planting of hedges and trees to include the establishment of an orchard will particularly help the current population of horseshoe bats, a nationally rare and declining species, by providing habitat for wider and more connected supply on neighboring lands.

“Flowering trees in the orchard will also be good for attracting pollinators.

“We also aim to create new wildflower meadows to help insects such as the little blue butterfly, and moist woodland areas planted with trees like willow, birch and alder to attract waders such as the snipe and rare native birds such as siskin or willow tits.

The trust is also considering how to improve bike access along the route.

Councilor Richard Samuel, Deputy Leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: “The transfer of Bathampton Meadows to the National Trust ensures that the land is protected forever from inappropriate development, and it also supports our commitment to fight against the climatic and ecological emergency.

“The transfer will provide much improved public access and improved open space.”