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Cambridge Water’s Pebble funding for CoFarm, river projects and owls

Dominic Walsh, left, and Peter Wrapson of CoFarm. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dominic Walsh, left, and Peter Wrapson of CoFarm. Picture: Keith Heppell

Biodiversity organisations have received some welcome good news – eight charities and community groups will receive a boost from Cambridge Water to help biodiversity in 23 hectares, equivalent to more than 23 rugby pitches.

Since the launch of Cambridge Water’s Pebble fund in 2016 – created to fund biodiversity – more than 60 hectares have been improved via funding support from the awards.

Assistance of up to £10,000 is available for projects looking to improve, restore or create habitat within Cambridge Water’s supply area. Projects need to have a community benefit.

This year’s list features:

- The Greater Cambridge Chalk Streams project by the Wild Trout Trust and Wildlife Trust BCN will improve a section of Vicar’s Brook and River Mel in the Greater Cambridge area to enable the river to cleanse itself.

- Barton’s Barn Owl Boxes by the Countryside Restoration Trust will replace six Barn Owl boxes across the 160ha site that have started to deteriorate.

- CoFarm Cambridge will create a wildflower meadow and community orchard on its community farm in the centre of Cambridge.

- Chalk it up for Wildlife by Wildlife Trust BCN will undertake vital conservation management and invasive species control to protect rare species at the two historic quarries at Cherry Hinton Chalk pits.

- Horseheath Parish Council will create wildflower roadside verges in the village of Horseheath.

- Friends of the Round Moat at Fowlmere Parish Council will clear the overgrowing vegetation, create a wildflower area and improve existing habitats at the moat.

- Cambridge City Council will plant two roadside verges at Fulbourn Road and Cambridge Causeway with wild flowers.

- Abington Preschool will increase biodiversity in their outdoor area.

The character of our countryside and its wildlife is crucial to the wellbeing of all species
The character of our countryside and its wildlife is crucial to the wellbeing of all species

Dan Clark, water resources and environment manager for Cambridge Water, said: “We’re not just here to provide our customers with high-quality water, we want to protect and enhance the environment for current and future generations.

“We want to do that by supporting and funding the existing groups, which are already working hard to increase the variety of natural living things and the diversity of the habitats where they live. This is work which not only benefits wildlife, but also enhances local communities and our open spaces.

“We were pleased to receive so many applications for our Pebble fund this year: the successful projects were chosen by a combination of our staff volunteers across the business and customers on our online community. I’m looking forward to seeing how these projects progress.”

Gavin Shelton, who initiated the CoFarm community farming model, said: “We’re over the moon – the grant enables us to get our country orchard up and running with a variety of fruit trees, with East of England apple varieties in there as well.”

“We’ll be planting them up over the winter,” Gavin added of the first co-ownership site off Barnwell Road. “The orchard is two-thirds of an acre, and will attract more pollinating insects across the site.”

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