New urban nature reserve aims to boost bee and butterfly populations in Cumbria

Credit: Carlisle Council

Work has been completed on a new 42-acre wildlife haven for birds, bees and butterflies in Cumbria.

The Swifts golf course and driving range in Carlisle city centre has been transformed into an urban nature reserve - breathing new life into the site.

The site located on the Southern bank of the River Eden includes grassland, woodland and riverbanks - which aims to help boost populations of bees and butterflies.

The site has been transformed from £80,000 funding from Cumbria Waste Management Environment Trust (CWMET) and £8,000 from the Environment Agency.

It is a collaborate project by Carlisle City Council and Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Cllr Nigel Christian, Portfolio holder for Environment and Transport, said: "Pollinating insects are a critical component of a healthy ecosystem.

"The Swifts project restores and create three different types of habitat in the centre of Carlisle: wildflower hay meadows; diverse woodland containing native flowering tree and shrub species; and wet grassland featuring seasonal scrapes (shallow pools of water).

"This combination will not only provide essential habitat for pollinating insects but will also offer feeding and nesting opportunities for a wide range of bird and mammal species."

Jody Ferguson, Community Development Manager (Cumberland) for Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: "The Swifts project has been an incredible opportunity to work in partnership with Carlisle City Council to create valuable new wildlife habitat that will contribute to nature's recovery.

"Its city centre location means it is a wonderful, accessible place for people too, and we know a thriving, wildlife-rich environment benefits both physical and mental health."

The new urban nature reserve will be open to the public at all times.

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