HRH The Prince of Wales visits Daneway Banks Nature Reserve
- Credit: PAUL NICHOLLS
HRH The Prince of Wales, Patron of The Wildlife Trusts since 1977, visited Daneway Banks Nature Reserve on Thursday, July 21, 2016 following a successful public appeal by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT)
HRH The Prince of Wales’s visit to Daneway Banks marked the launch of a new educational and research partnership with the Royal Entomological Society (RES), to be joint owners of the site with GWT.
The appeal to purchase the Daneway Banks was one of the most successful in GWT’s history. His Royal Highness supported the appealthrough his charitable foundation.
Following a successful reintroduction project, Daneway Banks is now a stronghold for the Large Blue Butterfly. It is a wonderful example of limestone grassland and supports many other species too. The partnership will aim to spread understanding of all the insects and other wildlife at the site.
His Royal Highness enjoyed a tour of the nature reserve in glorious sunshine, with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust CEO Roger Mortlock and Professor Jeremy Thomas OBE, Chair, RES Conservation Committee, who led the project to reintroduce the large blue butterfly back to the Cotswolds. His Royal Highness also met some of the volunteers who have worked on the site, some of those GWT members who contributed to the public appeal, and GWT President and BBC Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison. Experts were on hand to explain the complex lifecycle which is depicted on a new carved wooden bench.
Roger Mortlock, CEO of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust said: “It was a great honour to have His Royal Highness officially open the Daneway Banks Nature Reserve. It was a wonderful occasion, and we hope many people will come to visit. The large blue butterfly is at the end of its flying season but there are many other species to see here on this very special site.”
The tour was followed by a reception at the newly opened Daneway Inn where His Royal Highness met representatives of the Royal Entomological Society, The Large Blue Project (which includes Butterfly Conservation, the National Trust and Natural England) and Grundon Waste Management, who helped to launch the public appeal, and are long-term supporters of the GWT.
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Dr Luke Tilley, RES Director of Outreach and Development said, “It was a tremendous honour to have The Prince of Wales at Daneway Banks and we could not have imagined a better way to launch our exciting new partnership with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. The reserve has strong populations of so many fascinating insects and the partnership will increase our understanding of them through research and management.”
After meeting the staff, supporters and volunteers from Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the Royal Entomological Society, GWT President, Ellie Harrison, thanked His Royal Highness and invited him to unveil a plaque to commemorate the visit. Before His Royal Highness did so, he spoke about the importance of research and managing land appropriately for the conservation of different species.
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) has managed Daneway Banks SSSI nature reserve under lease since 1968. In March 2016, following a high profile funding appeal, GWT become owners of the Daneway Banks nature reserve, purchasing the land from the Dowager Countess Bathurst. The appeal was given a robust start with a donation of £5,000 from Grundon Waste Management. Grundon are long-time supporters of GWT, having contributed more than £2 million pounds to the Trust over the last 20 years through the Landfill Communities Fund. Grundon have a special relationship with Daneway Banks and funded, amongst other things, the construction of the dew pond, essential to the good grazing of the site. GWT is grateful for the £25,000 donated by HRH The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation to support the purchase of the site. A further £50,000 was raised through a public appeal, making it one of the most successful GWT fundraising appeals.