18th December 2019

The New Forest National Park Authority and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have been awarded £28,000 to improve Landford Bog for rare plants, invertebrates and reptiles.

The nature reserve – the size of 11 football pitches – is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is an internationally rare wet heath and bog. 

Now National Grid is funding measures to prevent the bog from drying out, to secure the reserve for cattle which help manage the site for wildlife through their grazing, and to improve visitor access with new kissing gates and a boardwalk.

Nearly 30 Nationally Scarce invertebrates have been recorded at Landford Bog as well as species that are locally uncommon including the raft spider and silver-studded blue butterfly, and the Nationally Scarce wood cricket. Protected reptiles include common lizard, grass snake and adder.  

The reserve is a refuge for rare plants including heather and cross-leaved heath, bog asphodel, purple moor grass, sphagnum mosses, and carnivorous plants sundew and pale butterwort. 

New Forest National Park Authority Landscape Officer Sarah Kelly said:

Landford Bog Nature Reserve is a small remnant of what was a much larger bog that was part of Landford Common, a typical New Forest heathland landscape. Many of the plants and animals found there are very rare in Wiltshire, and a few are known in the county only from this one site. Except for the reserve and some of the fields to the south of New Road, almost all the natural heath in this area has been lost, so it’s vital that we conserve and improve this area which is so important for both wildlife and the local community.

National Grid’s Landscape Enhancement Initiative (LEI) helps fund local schemes that reduce the landscape and visual impacts of existing National Grid electricity transmission lines in English and Welsh protected landscapes (National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty). 

The focus at Landford will be on diverting attention from the pylons and creating a peaceful place for walks and wildlife spotting.

Ashley White, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Reserve Manager South Wiltshire said:

We’ll be constructing leaky dams to help create pools of standing water to improve the bog’s wetness and preserve this rare habitat. The nature reserve was at one time part of the greater Landford Common and there’s a long history of cattle grazing here. Their grazing controls purple moor grass and control birch trees which can take over, helping other species to thrive. As well as wildlife, Landford Bog is well-used by local residents. We’ll be improving visitor access through the woodland footpath that runs next to the heath and bog by installing a new boardwalk, providing a safe path over wet areas and two new kissing gates at both pedestrian entrance points. This will encourage visitors to use a route which will be naturally screened from the pylons by trees.

The LEI is a provision that is available to those Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks in England and Wales whose landscapes are adversely impacted by the presence of existing high-voltage electricity infrastructure. It is part of National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project which makes use of a £500million provision made available by the energy industry regulator, Ofgem.

Chris Baines, environmentalist, broadcaster and chair of the national Stakeholder Advisory Group that advises National Grid on the VIP project said: ‘I am delighted that LEI is helping the New Forest National Park and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to restore such a precious landscape and habitat.

‘The LEI is an initiative devised by the VIP project’s Advisory Board and managed enthusiastically by National Grid.  It is an initiative that stakeholders asked for and consumers support. This is the second project in the New Forest National Park and one of a number involving Wildlife Trusts to benefit from LEI. I hope we can look forward to supporting many more.’ 

See the original press release from the New Forest National Park here.

Find out more about Landford Bog on our reserve page.

If you are interested in volunteering to help carry out the improvement works at Landford, please contact Ashley White on 07872 117383 or at [email protected].