Ray Batty and Tony Gardner at Noak Bridge nature reserve

The Noak Bridge nature reserve boasting an abundance of wildlife, including rare great crested newts and wild service trees, has been given a £10,000 funding boost.

The Noak Bridge Nature Reserve Society has been awarded the money from Basildon Council's Community Investment Fund and will use the much-needed cash to improve its facilities and open up new areas to the public.

Situated along the northern side of the A127, with Noak Bridge village to the west, the nature reserve offers mixed grassland, scrub, developing woodland and seven ponds.

[quote width="auto" align="left|right|none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Society chairman Ray Batty told the Gazette"]We were hopeful we would get the grant and were pleasantly surprised. It was a long process and quite a difficult grant to go for. We will enhance the nature reserve. We have two sets of steps to be replaced and quite a lot of the walkway needs refurbishing. We also want to bring our east meadow into use. We can't have people walking through at the moment and we want a board walk through there.[/quote]

The resident of Coppice Lane, Noak Bridge, continued: "We also want to open up one of our other ponds, which is fast going to land and we want to retrieve that. The grant will allow us to do some of this work and we are hoping for another grant too."

Nine committee members run the society, which has around 87 households subscribed as members, which equates to around 200 individuals. The mixed habitat homes oak, ash and cultivated fruit trees, as well as rare wild service trees. Wildlife thrives in the 20-acre space, where Muntjac deer, foxes, great crested newt, several species of butterfly and dragonflies can be spotted.

Mr Batty added: "The ponds are really full with water and are couple are overflowing. The seventh has water in now but lots of land plant life, which needs to be removed. It is a nice peaceful place to walk around."

This grant comes from the second round of applications for the Community Investment Fund, with many local groups submitting entries and £200,000 being awarded across the board.

Terri Sargent, Cabinet member for community at Basildon Council, said "It is wonderful to see so many local causes and groups coming forward. All local community and voluntary groups that provide services to the borough residents are encouraged to apply for the next round as there are still grants for projects available."

For more information visit www.basildon.gov.uk/cif 

Anyone looking to join The Noak Bridge Nature Reserve Society should visit www.nbnrs.org.uk 

Article and image sourced from Brentwood Gazette

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