PLANS are afoot to create a new nature reserve in a Herefordshire village.

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust have received a gift of a new nature reserve from Weobley residents Martin and Julie Peacock, who recently bought the three meadows adjoining their property.

Mr and Mrs Peacock have also provided a generous endowment to fund the maintenance and development the fields which will be known as Weobley Wildlife Meadows

They are now keen to see the land managed as a nature reserve with the fields managed as wildflower meadows as a legacy to the village and the county. Herefordshire Wildlife Trust have also agreed to plant a community orchard at the site and create a pond and other areas of wildlife habitat.

The site already has some value to wildlife with thick hedgerows and a number of grasses and wildflowers already recorded within the grassland.

Mr Peacock said: “I am delighted that the fields behind Julie's and my house which we bought last year now belong to the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, who are committed to converting them into first class wildlife meadows in the next three to four years. In charge of the project is Lewis Goldwater who is based at the trust's headquarters at Queenswood on the Hereford road just south of Leominster.”

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s reserves officer Lewis Goldwater said: “We are so pleased to have the opportunity to create a new nature reserve for the local community at Weobley. We believe this site could be fantastic for wildlife and are keen begin restoration. We will spread wildflower seed from other sites to add more species of wildflower and grasses to the meadow so in a few years it should be full of bees and butterflies as well as small mammals such as voles which, in turn provide prey for birds such as barn owl which we hope to see here in the future.

"We will be creating a pond in one meadow – vital for wildlife, especially as so many have been lost from the countryside over recent decades – and planting a traditional orchard. While the fruit will provide food for both people and wildlife, older trees provide a range of nesting places for birds and bats and habitat for beetles so, in time, will be a wonderful wildlife habitat too.”

The trust aim to carry out the restoration works over the next few years but plan to open the reserve to the public as soon as possible.