Community support

Funding level: Up to £1,000


Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve is a hidden gem created from a series of old refuse tips and gravel pits. We have riverbanks, canalside areas, a reedbed lagoon, wooded areas, hedgerows, a wildflower meadow and several ponds. We have restored habitat for lots of plant and animal life and now our Wildlife Group wants to attract more people of all ages to use the reserve. There's quite a buzz there already, especially as we're opening a small visitor centre this summer, with kitchen, meeting room/classroom and toilets -bliss!! Most of our pathways are wheelchair/pushchair-friendly and we have made sure that disabled visitors get a really good view of the birdfeeding areas.
The reserve is open all year, with free access so its hard to know how many people use it, but a rough guess is that 20-50 people per day visit all year round, and in spring and summer there can be over 100 if the sun shines. There's plenty of birdsong, frogs and toads croaking, insects cheeping and squeaks and rustles in the grass. So now we want to add the sound of giggles as everyone enjoys great days [and evenings] discovering what's around us.

We intend to make the sights and sounds of the reserve even easier for kids and families to enjoy. Getting outside in green spaces has huge benefits for physical and mental wellbeing and that's what we want to happen for all our visitors. Come and pay us a visit... you might see a deer, a mouse or some beautiful birds - and our bridge spiders are spectacular!
We already host activity days throughout the year for schools and young people's organisations, but we can't always get as close to nature as we would like.
We have monthly indoor meetings [15-20 people] and working days [10-30 volunteers depending on tasks], and our themed events for the general public attract good numbers of visitors. [35 people to our recent Newt Evening in April 2015] However, it is not always very easy to find the wildlife, or to show it to people safely and humanely. For some people it is difficult to get nose to nose with a newt, or to find a frog. In the evenings there are bats around the reserve - but just blink and you miss them! We want to buy some good equipment to reveal the riches of the natural world on our doorstep - especially to visiting groups of children and young people; Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve will be our "open air classroom" for them. We will use the kit with lots of other visitors too so that we can make our activity days even better.

What we would do with a grant:

£400 for pond dipping and insect collecting equipment – to get a closer look at some fascinating residents. A tool kit of nets, shallow display trays, clear tanks, magnifying buckets, torches [for evening sessions when there's more activity] will bring our finds into clear view.
£250 for a strong handcart trolley to carry all our equipment around the reserve – and help us not to lose it!
£100-£150 for a bat detector – we sometimes borrow one and its always a real treat. At a recent evening our youngest visitor [age 7] was put in charge of the detector and instantly became the group leader!
£100-£150 for a moth trap – to see the hidden beauties of the night. This will really help us extend our use of the reserve and help to develop identification skills.
£50 – for some large ground sheets to gather everything together on - spare coats/dry shoes, picnic stuff, small children, grandparents etc!

Please vote for us – we want to inspire the volunteers of tomorrow who will look after the reserve in the future, and we all want to have fun together! There's plenty to giggle about!

Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group

Moment of Pride

All our volunteers - some of them are totally weatherproof and very committed! Their friendliness and the range of talents and knowledge makes being on the reserve a really fun day out. We're all proud of what's been achieved so far, and we're up for some more hard work to make it even better.

Location: Halifax