DEVON Wildlife Trust has bought 35 acres of rare Culm grassland on the River Torridge which will become the charity s latest nature reserve. The land was part of Marshall Farm, near Woolsery, and is a prime example of the species-rich wet grassland of the

DEVON Wildlife Trust has bought 35 acres of rare Culm grassland on the River Torridge which will become the charity's latest nature reserve.

The land was part of Marshall Farm, near Woolsery, and is a prime example of the species-rich wet grassland of the area.

It borders other high value Culm grassland sites at Bursdon Moor and also sits close to one of the charity's other reserves, Volehouse Moor to the east.

The new site has been given the name Meresfelle Nature Reserve, a title derived from an old name for the area dating back to the 13th Century.

The site is already buzzing with wildlife. Species recorded on the reserve include small pearl bordered fritillary, snipe and adders along with a new record of a rare marsh fritillary butterfly which is threatened throughout Europe.

Matt Boydell, DWT's Land Management Manager, said: "This site will be an excellent addition to our suite of Culm grassland nature reserves in North Devon.

"The site has not been grazed for nearly a decade so it is in need of some appropriate management such as scrub clearance and swaling (controlled burning) but we are excited to be able to secure this land and get to work restoring it for the future."

The land purchase is part of the charity's wider conservation work in north Devon through the Working Wetlands project which aims to restore, re-create and reconnect wildlife rich sites in the area.

Matt added: "Our strategy at the moment for land acquisition is to secure sites near to our other reserves or in priority areas to help enlarge and connect them to make them more robust to tackle a range of threats such as climate change. We have a highly experienced team of staff that are able to manage these Culm sites and through the Working Wetlands project we are able to advise other landowners how best to manage their holdings to benefit wildlife.