Shropshire Star

Cudwell Meadow purchase appeal reaches £25,000 target

A fundraising appeal launched earlier this year to purchase meadowland in Church Stretton has now been approved as a community group reached its £25,000 target.

Celebrating are, front; town mayor Bob Welch, Isabel Carter, Lizzie Hulton-Harrop, back; Mike Carter, Peter Whitlock, Jonathan Brown

The purchase of Cudwell Meadow, a three-acre site to the south of Church Stretton, is now under way after the Stretton Wetlands Interest Group, Middle Marches Community Land Trust and other interested groups were able to raise £25,000 to buy it.

Wanting to pass on a restored, well-connected and bio-diverse wetland to the next generation of people in the area, the group set about fundraising to purchase Cudwell and turn it into a wildlife haven.

Dr Isabel Carter, part of the project, said they were thrilled to have reached the target and they are looking forward to the next step.

"We have been absolutely thrilled by the response," she said. "We started planning this campaign at the beginning of lockdown actually and our hearts sunk when all our fundraising stopped. We've done a lot of fundraising in the past for other wetland projects and been quite good at it.

Cudwell Meadow near Church Stretton

"But of course we could not do anything because of the coronavirus outbreak so we had to rely on local people and their generosity and some people already knew what it was, because they were local anyway.

"The support from the Middle Marches Community Land Trust has been excellent. We couldn't get together to discuss or even to celebrate when we reached our goal, everything was done over messages and emails.

"For the last few weeks we have known it was very close but of course, immediately now the hard work can start."

As well as asking people for donations, the group also asked if they would be interested in helping in the future, and now have more than 20 people who are eager to help with surveys and conservation.

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Isabel said the group's next steps are to complete the purchase process, complete biodiversity surveys and introduce livestock to the meadow.

She added: "The wetland area we already know has a wonderful range of flowers, and we want to look after all the creatures and the mammals. So many people share this vision and have been so generous."

Bob Welch, mayor of Church Stretton, added: "The residents of Church Stretton have demonstrated their commitment to conservation in a practical way by donating the funding for this project in remarkably swift time."

Richard Keymer, chair of Middle Marches Community Land Trust, said: "Middle Marches Community Land Trust is delighted to have worked with a group of committed local people in Church Stretton to help raise funds for the purchase of Cudwell Meadow. Not many towns have wetlands with species such as water vole, marsh marigold and meadow-sweet close to the town centre."