Yatton and Congresbury Wildlife Action Group are creating a new reserve in Congresbury. ‘Cobthorn Reserve’ is at the end of Cobthorn Way, bordering the new Furnace Way housing development.

Planning permission for Furnace Way was granted by North Somerset Council (NSC) with a proviso that an area of the procured land was set aside for the benefit of Greater Horseshoe Bats – a protected species that use this land for foraging. The area is only small part of the original habitat available to the bats in this location – much has been lost to the housing and its associated amenity area.

The original developers, Sunley, did not want to undertake the maintenance of this mitigation area which would involve planned grazing and careful management. NSC suggested they contact YACWAG to see if they would be interested in taking over the land in perpetuity for the benefit of bats. Following discussions between Sunley, NSC and YACWAG an outline agreement was reached. Sunley subsequently passed the development over to Strongvox, who continued with the agreement and YACWAG are hoping that the legal transfer of the land will happen later this summer.

With the support and help of Strongvox, the reserve is being adapted ahead of the legal transfer. Separate sections have been fenced off to allow for flexible grazing by cattle and sheep and new hedgerows have been planted. Further hedgerow and larger tree planting is planned, which will help transform the reserve. Information lecterns will be installed within the next couple of weeks and it is hoped Dexter cows will soon be grazing there.

For more information about the bats, a plan of the site location and how to contact YACWAG if you would like to help with the project, click here.