As part of our commitment to the community, NATS works in partnership with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) to manage the nature reserve adjacent to our Swanwick Centre.
June actually marks the 20th anniversary of establishing the Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve and celebrations have been ongoing throughout the month, culminating with a celebratory event on the 18 June, which brought together NATS and HIWWT employees involved in its success.
The event saw children from Wildlife Watch groups and Wildlife Tots get involved in some pond dipping to discover for themselves what flora and fauna live in the water. Guided walks around the Reserve were also organised and led by Trust volunteers. After some birthday cake and presentations, a specially made entrance sign was unveiled by Jean Hedley, MBE, and President of the Trust.
This carved design was actually crafted from a tree that came down in the Reserve several years ago, with the wood being treated and transformed into a long-lasting and welcoming sign at the Reserve. It sits on top of a foundation of Fareham red bricks to act as a reminder of the area’s heritage.
Along with the HIWWT, NATS created and continue to fund the 86 acre Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve. It features scenic lakes, woods and grassland, in what was once a brick quarry. In addition to its rich habitat, there are over two miles of paths around the lakes and woods, which provide a valuable space for local people to relax and learn about the outdoor environment.
Last year alone, the educational centre, embedded within the Reserve, hosted almost 1000 local school children, 30 community groups and 30 public events, providing the opportunity for visitors of all ages and abilities to explore and learn about the countryside.
As well as providing an important amenity for the community, the Reserve has created a habitat for a diverse range of species. We’re looking forward to working towards achieving the Wildlife Trust’s Biodiversity Benchmark for the Reserve.
The Benchmark is a process that enables any organisation which owns or manages land to assess its impact on the natural world, improve its contribution to the environment and demonstrate its commitment to biodiversity. It is designed to ensure that sites are managed to the highest standard, while rewarding biodiversity improvement by companies.
Everybody involved is extremely proud of what has been achieved since the reserve’s inception 20 years ago and we look forward to many more milestones.
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