By Ross Hanley, Gunnislake Community Matters
People who walk along the picturesque river path from Newbridge to Weir Head may notice some boxes attached to the larger trees near the steps leading up to the King George V Playing field. This is all part of an initiative undertaken by Gunnislake Community Matters. GCM has made and placed 14 bat boxed in the trees at the bottom of the playing field and alongside the river path. To encourage bats to use the boxes, and to add some colour to the playing field, the area at the bottom of the field has been sown with wild flower meadow seeds. Once established, the meadow will attract insects to provide food for the bats.
The work was planned for the end of 2017. It rained so much during the winter that the ground was like a sponge, so the meadow could not be sown until the field dried out in May. We hope the plants can catch up!
Part of the funding for the initiative came from the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as an award under their Sustainable Development Fund. Other funding was from Devon Wildlife Trust, as part of the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project and from Gunnislake Community Matters. Tree surgeon, Matt Underwood, fixed the boxes to the trees, and local farmer Richard Martin, who harrowed the field for the wildflowers. GCM is grateful for the tome and effort both gave to the project.
It is hoped that bats will be attracted to the bat boxes, providing not only habitat for this rare, small mammal, but also interest in the Playing Field at dusk. The wildflowers will make a colourful area in the playing field people to enjoy at any time.
This year’s Sustainable Development Fund is open for small grants to support projects that help to conserve and enhance the Tamar Valley AONB.
If £500 – £1,000 could benefit your project, please apply by 29th June 2018 httpss://www.tamarvalley.org.uk/care/sdf/