Popular nature reserve wins carrier bag charge funding boost

Monday 20th February 2017

Bystock Pools nature reserve by David ChamberlainBystock Pools nature reserve by David Chamberlain

Visitors to a well-loved east Devon nature reserve will see some improvements this year, thanks to a winning vote by local shoppers.

Devon Wildlife Trust is delighted to announce that Bystock Pools nature reserve has bagged £12,000 from a Tesco funding scheme.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch the second round of its Bags of Help funding initiative, which sees grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local outdoor community projects.

Millions of shoppers voted in stores up and down the country. And it can now be revealed Devon Wildlife Trust has been awarded £12,000.

Work will now begin on the project to improve Bystock nature reserve for visitors.

DWT plans to install new bridges to improve access from the woods to the long pond and to construct some steps on the steeper slopes – so more visitors can enjoy more of the reserve.

A new welcome sign will also brighten up the initial impression of Bystock for visitors and replacement interpretation boards will present in a more engaging way the information on Bystock’s wildlife and the paths people can use to explore.

The access improvements are expected to be in place by summer 2017 with the interpretation materials to follow later in the year.

Mike Tracey, a volunteer with the Exmouth & Bystock Devon Wildlife Trust Local Group, said: “We have always known that large numbers of Exmothians love Bystock, as they proved when the appeal to purchase the reserve became the most successful in DWT's history. Now they have done it again, and we are absolutely delighted that so many people share our desire to make Bystock even better than it is already for both people and wildlife.

“We are grateful also to Tesco, without whose generous funding the whole exercise could not have taken place”.

Lindsey Crompton, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response of our customers and it’s been great to give people a say on how the money will be spent in their community. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.”

Voting ran in stores from 31 October to 13 November – with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the check-out in store.

Tesco estimates that around six million votes were cast in stores up and down the UK.

Since launching in 2015, Bags of Help has awarded more than £24m across 2,421 local projects.

Bystock Pools nature reserve was saved as a wildlife haven and publicly accessible green space thanks to a successful DWT fundraising appeal in 2015.