A new nature reserve has opened on the edge of Marlborough for the local community and wildlife to enjoy.

Bay Meadows Nature Reserve sits within the North Wessex Downs AONB, and the site was bought by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust in 2022 to protect it from the threat of development.

Now the trust has turned the land into a beautiful nature reserve that preserves the green space for the local community to enjoy while increasing biodiversity in the area.

“The nature park will be a fantastic asset for this community – a place for local people to come to relax and unwind and connect with nature,” said Joanna Lewis, CEO of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

“The people of Marlborough have really embraced the project. We’ve involved over 700 local people of all ages and backgrounds through family days, green prescription programmes, school visits and Forest School outreach.

Swindon Advertiser: The new nature park has something for all the family.The new nature park has something for all the family. (Image: Wiltshire Wildlife Trust)

“When we stepped in, Bay Meadows was poor grazing land with limited biodiversity – now our volunteers have already helped create new wetland scrapes, install special woody debris features to benefit water voles and dragonflies, planted thousands of beautiful snakeshead fritillaries and thousands of trees and bushes.”

The 30 acres of restored water meadow is now home to more than 300 species, according to a recent survey, including otter, wild brown trout and the fast-decreasing water voles.

It has also given the communities of Marlborough and surrounding areas access to a new nature-rich green space, with easy walking trails, a picnic area, a den building area, logs to climb on, an enchanted tunnel and a bug hunting trail.

Swindon Advertiser: The nature reserve is located in the North Wessex Downs, just outside Marlborough.The nature reserve is located in the North Wessex Downs, just outside Marlborough. (Image: Wiltshire Wildlife Trust)

The site was officially opened as a nature park for the public on Wednesday, November 1, by the deputy lord lieutenant of Wiltshire, the mayor of Marlborough and a committee member of the National Trust Heritage Fund, who have been a major contributor.

The creation of Bay Meadows Nature Reserve is part of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s wider strategy to restore nature at a landscape scale by improving connectivity through wildlife corridors and better habitat management.

“In saving Bay Meadows, and working together to create a new nature reserve and a new community nature park, we have stood up for nature and for people,” added Joanne.