MEON Vale has been designated as a Local Wildlife Site by Warwickshire County Council (WCC).
The status of the recently developed village, in Stratford district, recognises it as a home to some of the UK’s most distinctive and threatened species including the rare Bechstein’s bat, the critically endangered water vole and specially protected Little Ringed Plover.
The award comes following a report by the government outlining the benefits of woodlands and other natural environments to the nation’s mental health.
Habitats at Meon Vale include ponds, wetlands, woodlands and wildflower grasslands – home to a wide variety of animals including water voles, butterflies, newts, birds, and bats. It was also the site of the first sighting in Warwickshire of the very rare Bechstein’s bat species.
The wetlands provide a valuable habitat and breeding ground for wading birds including the specially protected Little Ringed Plover, and is home to two pairs and five juveniles of the species out of a total of only 15-20 pairs in the county. The breeding of a pair of Little Ringed Plover was recorded in the area in June.
Developer St Modwen says it is committed to encouraging and maintaining biodiversity at Meon Vale including designing and managing the wetland area as a nature park, adding new habitats and pathways, installing and monitoring bat boxes, enhancing streams and ditches and restoring grassland to create wildflower meadows.
Spokesperson Andrea Clarke said: “We’re proud of the habitats and biodiversity achievements we have made so far at Meon Vale, and are continuing to work with specialist ecologists and local residents to identify other, longer-term opportunities for further biodiversity improvements which we can implement.
“As we have seen more than ever since the beginning of the pandemic, access to green spaces and the natural environment is incredibly valuable to people’s health and wellbeing, and we want to continue to improve important spaces like these.”
Residents keen to support biodiversity have also been awarded £4,900 in funding from WCC’s Green Shoots Fund for its Making Meon Vale Sustainable project. The Meon Vale Residents Association will use it to support the planting of new wildflower meadows to accelerate biodiversity growth around the village.
It will also be used to purchase compost bins and water butts to support water saving in households and community allotments.
Last year, campaigning residents secured the ancient woodland after the area was earmarked for potential development.
Stratford District Council was considering St Modwen’s proposal for a further 300 homes on some 32 hectares of woodland. But, following fierce opposition from campaign group Friends of Meon Vale, the developer pulled its housing plans for the 80 acre site.