Council approves nature reserve near Belton to preserve scarce plants

Liz Redfern

North Lincolnshire Council has designated the Belshaw Heath site near Belton as a Local Nature Reserve, bringing the total number of Local Nature Reserves in North Lincolnshire to 17 and helping to preserve plants that are scarce or local to the area.

The 3.6 hectare site is currently classed as a Local Wildlife Site, part of which has recently been gifted to Belton Parish Council. Predominantly broadleaved woodland and acid grassland, by designating it as a Local Nature Reserve, plants such as annual knawel, bird’s foot, shepherd’s cress, trailing St John’s wort, little mouse ear, heath grass and early hair grass will be protected.

Across North Lincolnshire, volunteers on Local Nature Reserves and Alkbrough Flats give around 4,700 hours of their time per year to manage and maintain these sites, contributing to the council’s aim of having two hectares of local nature reserves per 1,000 people by 2018. At Belshaw Health Local Nature Reserve, local people will manage the site for wildlife and quiet recreation.

Councillor Baroness Liz Redfern, ward member for Axholme Central, said: “Providing and protecting beautiful areas for the benefit of wildlife, plants and the community is important. By designating the Belshaw Heath site near Belton as a Local Nature Reserve, we will be conserving both woodland and grassland, whilst getting the community involved in nature conservation and providing educational opportunities for local children and families.

“By working in partnership with Belton Parish Council and volunteers, we will be able to provide a wonderful location for both residents and visitors to the area to enjoy, whilst adding value to the nearby Site Of Special Scientific Interest.”

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