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BBC presenter Ellie Harrison opens new nature reserve in Bourton-on-the-Water

All Areas > Environment > General

Author: Patrick Baines, Posted: Friday, 6th July 2018, 13:00

Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison, who is also the president of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, was on hand to officially open a new wildlife visitor centre in the Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water yesterday.

Greystones, located just a 10-minute walk from the centre of the Cotswold village, will offer visitors the chance to learn about the ancient history of the site as well as enjoy the thriving nature reserve that’s home to a vast collection of animals including water voles, barn owls and otters. Greystones will be open to the public seven days a week throughout the year, with easy-to-follow trails taking visitors through meadows, woodland, a river and wild play features.

Local schoolchildren, dressed in Iron Age costumes, were the first visitors to enjoy the new facility, which Ellie Harrison says will play a big role in promoting nature and conservation. Speaking to The Local Answer she said: “It’s so exciting to be here and see the incredible work that’s been carried out. There’s so much evidence that says learning outdoors really cements ideas and helps some children who struggle in the classroom. The fact that children in Gloucestershire have this facility on their doorstep is fantastic. The new Visitor Centre and Discovery Barn are sure to provide visitors with a real insight and education.

“Children will get the opportunity to do an archaeological dig and discover the amazing history of this site which dates back over 6,000 years. The best thing of all is it doesn’t cost a penny to come here so visitors can come and really immerse themselves in history and nature. It’s vital that the future generations make a connection with nature. Places like Greystones really help inspire and educate, it’s a real joy to be here and see such a wonderful attraction. Full credit should go to the incredible team of volunteers that have worked tirelessly on the project for many years.”

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust bought Greystones in 2001, at the time a derelict farm. With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other sources, and with help from a team of dedicated volunteers, they have developed Greystones into a truly unique place for visitors and for wildlife.

The crystal clear waters of the River Eye flow through the nature reserve, and are home to a collection of water voles, an animal whose population has shrunk in recent years. The fields either side of the river are home to a vast range of wildflowers that support bees, butterflies, dragonflies and other insects.

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