A WILDLIFE charity has issued a rallying cry to nature lovers.  

Cheshire Wildlife Trust, which manages some of the most ecologically sensitive natural habitats in the county, is appealing for help to plug a whopping £52,000 hole in its budget. 

It costs more than £400,000 each year to manage its 30 reserves, including Marbury Reedbeds on the edge of Budworth Mere, a vital refuge for overwintering bitterns, one of the country’s rarest birds.

The 2023 State of Nature Report, published this week, shows more than half the UK’s species are in decline, with one in six at risk of being lost altogether.

Northwich Guardian: Wetlands like Marbury Reedbeds are home to a wealth of species, but to thrive, they need to be managed properlyWetlands like Marbury Reedbeds are home to a wealth of species, but to thrive, they need to be managed properly (Image: R. Bradshaw)

The report also highlights the importance of organisations like the Cheshire Wildlife Trust, who use the latest evidence-based techniques to manage threats to native wildlife from changing land use, intensive agriculture, pollution, invasive species, and climate change.

Ben Gregory, director of nature recovery at Cheshire Wildlife Trust, said: “It costs us £404,068 each year to manage our nature reserves for wonderful wildlife.

“We work really hard to be as effective as possible and to apply for as much funding as possible for land management.

“However, there's a £52,298 shortfall this year.

" It’s vital to nature’s recovery to protect these havens for wildlife and provide space, food and shelter for species that are under threat.

“A donation of £44 could help protect an acre of habitat for a whole year. We need help to protect Cheshire’s last refuges for wildlife”.

Sites managed by the trust across the county include: Black Lake in Delamere Forest, home to an important black-headed gull colony; Hatchmere, the site of Cheshire’s only beaver colony; and Knutsford Heath, one of the few remaining areas of lowland heath in Cheshire.

Rachel Giles, evidence and planning programme manager at Cheshire Wildlife Trust, said: ’Hundreds of species have already disappeared from parts of Cheshire, including birds such as the curlew and cuckoo.

Many species, such as the small pearl bordered fritillary butterfly, have been lost completely in recent years with others, like the water vole, teetering on the brink of local extinction.

We desperately need wilder and more natural areas to help wildlife recover, enable nature to adapt to climate change and create healthier, happier, and more prosperous communities”.