Beauty spot’s cash gift

Visitors at Shipley’s Woodside Nature Reserve will soon benefit from a new outdoor classroom play area and Wild Barn for picnics and learning activities.

The visitor attraction will be a place for the public to meet up and enjoy the nature spot- whether groups of school children or birdwatchers sheltering from the rain.

Its barn can also be used by the groups as a place to store their equipment.

The Derbyshire Wildlife wild barn and play area will be partly funded through a £38,244 grant from The Veolia Environmental Trust.

Jane Proctor, marketing and fundraising manager at Derbyshire Wildlife, said: “We are delighted because we’ve had the site for a couple of years and now we’re gradually getting the funding together for more attractions.

“The next phase will be to build a compost toilet - because its great inviting people down but you have to have facilities.

“Once we have some quotes for the building work we can release more detail - but people can expect to see some nice changes over the course of the next year.”

The 88-hectare reserve is the largest in Derbyshire outside the Peak District, and was purchased by Derbyshire Wildlife for £489,000 in 2011.

Woodside is run as a working farm with cattle and sheep grazing large grassland areas to ensure their upkeep.

But wide margins are left for public access around the field edges. The sale of lamb and beef boxes ensures another source of income from for the site.

“There are a lot of schools within easy access of the reserve,” said Jane. “But other groups such as birdwatchers will be able to use the facilities.”

“We’ve got some other funding for viewing platforms and pond dipping, so if people come to the site over the next year they will start seeing its transformation.”